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Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households

Author

Listed:
  • Akresh, Richard

    () (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Chen, Joyce J

    () (Ohio State University)

  • Moore, Charity

    () (Harvard Kennedy School)

Abstract

Altruism among family members can, in some cases, inhibit cooperation by increasing the utility that players expect to receive in a non-cooperative equilibrium. To test this, we examine agricultural productivity in polygynous households in West Africa. We find that cooperation is greater – production is more efficient – among co-wives than among husbands and wives because co-wives are less altruistic towards each other. The results are not driven by scale effects or self-selection into polygyny. Nor can they be explained by greater propensity for cooperation among women generally or by the household head acting as an enforcement mechanism for others' cooperative agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Akresh, Richard & Chen, Joyce J & Moore, Charity, 2011. "Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households," IZA Discussion Papers 6265, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6265
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    15. Richard Akresh & Joyce J. Chen & Charity T. Moore, 2012. "Productive Efficiency and the Scope for Cooperation in Polygynous Households," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 395-401.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2017. "Intra-household resource allocation and familial ties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 109-132.
    2. Joyce J. Chen & LaPorchia A. Collins, 2014. "Let's Talk About the Money: Spousal Communication, Expenditures, and Farm Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1272-1290.
    3. Anyck Dauphin, 2013. "The Role of Polygyny in the Intrahousehold Efficiency of Agricultural Production in West Africa," Cahiers de recherche 1323, CIRPEE.
    4. Julia Anna Matz, 2016. "Productivity, Rank, and Returns in Polygamy," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), pages 1319-1350.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    household bargaining; non-cooperative behavior; altruism; polygyny; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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