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Decision-making within the Household: The Role of Autonomy and Differences in Preferences

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  • Alem, Yonas

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Hassen, Sied

    (Environment and Climate Research Center of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute)

  • Köhlin, Gunnar

    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

We use a field experiment to identify how differences in preferences and autonomy in decision-making result in sub-optimal adoption of technologies that can maximize the welfare of all members of the household. We create income-earning opportunities and elicit willingness- to-pay (WTP) for energy-efficient cookstoves through a real stove purchase experiment with randomly chosen wives, husbands and couples. Experimental results suggest that women, who often are responsible for cooking and for collecting fuelwood, reveal a higher preference than men for the improved stoves. Using an instrumental variables tobit estimator, we show that women who have higher decision-making autonomy reveal higher WTP than those who have lower decision-making autonomy. A follow-up survey conducted 15 months after the stove purchase show that autonomy does not affect stove use. Our findings highlight the importance of considering division of labor, different preferences, and bargaining power differences within the household when promoting adoption of new household technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alem, Yonas & Hassen, Sied & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2018. "Decision-making within the Household: The Role of Autonomy and Differences in Preferences," Working Papers in Economics 724, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0724
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunther Bensch & Jörg Peters, 2020. "One‐Off Subsidies and Long‐Run Adoption—Experimental Evidence on Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 102(1), pages 72-90, January.
    2. Alem, Yonas & Dugoua, Eugenie, 2021. "Learning from unincentivized and incentivized communication: A randomized controlled trial in India," Ruhr Economic Papers 895, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Alem, Yonas, 2021. "Mitigating climate change through sustainable technology adoption: Insights from cookstove interventions," Ruhr Economic Papers 907, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Alem, Yonas & Dugoua, Eugenie, 2018. "Passive Learning and Incentivized Communication: A Randomized Controlled Trial in India," Working Papers in Economics 723, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Alem, Yonas & Ruhinduka, Remidius D., 2020. "Saving Africa's tropical forests through energy transition: A randomized controlled trial in Tanzania," Ruhr Economic Papers 885, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preference Difference; Decision-making; Autonomy; Willingness-to-pay;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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