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Strategic Choices in Polygamous Households: Theory and Evidence from Senegal

Author

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  • Pauline Rossi

    () (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Économiques (PSE) Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper proposes a strategic framework to account for fertility choices in polygamous households. A theoretical model specifies the main drivers of fertility in the African context and describes how the fertility of one wife might impact the behavior of her co-wives. It generates predictions to test for strategic interactions. Exploiting original data from a household survey and the Demographic and Health Surveys in Senegal, empirical tests show that children are strategic complements. One wife raises her fertility in response to an increase by the other wife, because children are the best claim to resources controlled by the husband. This result is the first quantitative evidence of a reproductive rivalry between co-wives. It suggests that the sustained high level of fertility in Africa does not merely reflect women's lack of control over births, as is often argued, but also their incentives to have many children. This paper also contributes to the literature on household behavior as one of the few attempts to open the black box of non-nuclear families.

Suggested Citation

  • Pauline Rossi, 2016. "Strategic Choices in Polygamous Households: Theory and Evidence from Senegal," CINCH Working Paper Series 1601, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Jan 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:duh:wpaper:1601
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    File URL: https://cinch.uni-due.de/fileadmin/content/research/workingpaper/1601_CINCH-Series_rossi.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Siu Fai Leung, 1991. "A Stochastic Dynamic Analysis of Parental Sex Preferences and Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1063-1088.
    2. Lambert, Sylvie & Rossi, Pauline, 2016. "Sons as widowhood insurance: Evidence from Senegal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 113-127.
    3. Marie Boltz & Isabelle Chort, 2019. "The Risk of Polygamy and Wives’ Saving Behavior," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 33(1), pages 209-230.
    4. Seema Jayachandran & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1485-1538.
    5. Sylvie Lambert & Pauline Rossi, 2015. "Sons as Widowhood Insurance: Evidence from Senegal," Working Papers halshs-00948098, HAL.
    6. Rossi, Pauline & Rouanet, Léa, 2015. "Gender Preferences in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Choices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 326-345.
    7. Dominique Tabutin & Bruno Schoumaker, 2004. "La démographie de l'Afrique au sud du Sahara des années 1950 aux années 2000. Synthèse des changements et bilan statistique," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 59(3), pages 521-622.
    8. Marie Boltz & Isabelle Chort, 2015. "The Risk of Polygamy and Wives Saving Behavior," Working Papers halshs-01183453, HAL.
    9. Doepke, Matthias & Kindermann, Fabian, 2014. "Intrahousehold Decision Making and Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 8726, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Vreyer, Philippe & Nilsson, Björn, 2019. "When solidarity fails: Heterogeneous effects on children from adult deaths in Senegalese households," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 73-94.
    2. Clarke, Damian & Mühlrad, Hanna, 2016. "The Impact of Abortion Legalization on Fertility and Maternal Mortality: New Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers in Economics 661, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Anukriti, S & Dasgupta, Shatanjaya, 2017. "Marriage Markets in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10556, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9353-x is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sylvain Dessy & Francesca Marchetta & Roland Pongou & Luca Tiberti, 2019. "Fertility response to climate shocks," Working Papers halshs-02053100, HAL.
    6. Elizabeth Lemmon, "undated". "Utilisation of personal care services in Scotland: the influence of unpaid carers," CINCH Working Paper Series 1802, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    7. Jean-Marie Baland & Roberta Ziparo, 2017. "Intra-household bargaining in poor countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 108, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Polygamy; Africa; Noncooperative models; Duration models;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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