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What’s love got to do with it ? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda

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Abstract

We test core theories of the household using variants of a public good game and experimental data from 240 couples in rural Uganda. Spouses do not maximise surplus from cooperation and realise a greater surplus when women are in charge. This violates assumptions of unitary and cooperative models. When women control the common account, they receive less than when men control it; this contradicts standard bargaining models. Women contribute less than men and are rewarded more generously by men than vice versa. This casts doubt on postulates in Sen (1990). While the absence of altruism is rejected, we find evidence for opportunism. The results are put in a socioeconomic context using quantitative and qualitative survey data. Assortative matching and correlates of bargaining power influence behaviour within the experiments. Our findings suggest that a ‘one-size fits all’ model of the household is unlikely to be satisfactory.

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  • Alistair Munro & Bereket Kebede & Vegard Iversen & Cecile Jackson & Arjan Verschoor, 2006. "What’s love got to do with it ? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 06/01, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Feb 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0601
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    1. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
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    11. Steven J. Humphrey & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Decision-making Under Risk among Small Farmers in East Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(1), pages 44-101, March.
    12. T. Paul Schultz, 1990. "Testing the Neoclassical Model of Family Labor Supply and Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 599-634.
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    Keywords

    experiment; household theories; Uganda; unitary model; cooperative model;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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