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

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Listed:
  • Akresh, Richard

    () (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

  • Chen, Joyce J

    () (Ohio State University)

  • Moore, Charity

    () (Yale University)

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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6265
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    Cited by:

    1. Kazianga, Harounan & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2017. "Intra-household resource allocation and familial ties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 109-132.
    2. Deschênes, Sarah & Dumas, Christelle & Lambert, Sylvie, 2020. "Household resources and individual strategies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    3. Julia Anna Matz, 2016. "Productivity, Rank, and Returns in Polygamy," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1319-1350, October.
    4. Vellore Arthi & James Fenske, 2018. "Polygamy and child mortality: Historical and modern evidence from Nigeria’s Igbo," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 97-141, March.
    5. Anyck Dauphin, 2013. "The Role of Polygyny in the Intrahousehold Efficiency of Agricultural Production in West Africa," Cahiers de recherche 1323, CIRPEE.
    6. Owoo, Nkechi S. & Upton, Joanna & Bageant, Elizabeth, 2017. "Food Insecurity and Family Structure in Nigeria," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258469, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Shunji Oniki & Melaku Berhe & Teklay Negash, 2020. "Role of Social Norms in Natural Resource Management: The Case of the Communal Land Distribution Program in Northern Ethiopia," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-1, January.
    8. Wilson, Nicholas, 2018. "Altruism in preventive health behavior: At-scale evidence from the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 119-129.
    9. Heath, Rachel & Hidrobo, Melissa & Roy, Shalini, 2020. "Cash transfers, polygamy, and intimate partner violence: Experimental evidence from Mali," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    10. Oniki, S. & Berhe, M. & Negash, T., 2018. "Roles of the social norms on participation in the communal land distribution program in Ethiopia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277070, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. 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.
    12. Akuriba, M. & Haagsma, R. & Heerink, N. & Dittoh, S., 2018. "Sustaining small scale irrigation systems: the role of users," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277280, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    13. Tim Krieger & Laura Renner, 2020. "Polygyny, Inequality, and Social Unrest," CESifo Working Paper Series 8230, CESifo.
    14. Karimli, Leyla & Lecoutere, Els & Wells, Christine R. & Ismayilova, Leyla, 2021. "More assets, more decision-making power? Mediation model in a cluster-randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of the graduation program on women's empowerment in Burkina Faso," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).

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    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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