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Does one size fit all? An experimental test of household models in East Uganda

  • Vegard Iversen et al


    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester)

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    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). We also find strong evidence for opportunism. The results are put in a socioeconomic context using survey data and follow-up interviews, which provides hints of the external validity of our findings; more so for contribution than for allocation behaviour. Taken together, our findings suggest that a `one-size fits all' model of the household is unlikely to be satisfactory.

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    Paper provided by Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India in its series Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers with number 09-04.

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    Length: 59 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:09-04
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