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Asymmetry of Information within Family Networks

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  • De Weerdt, Joachim

    () (University of Antwerp)

  • Genicot, Garance

    () (Georgetown University)

  • Mesnard, Alice

    () (City University London)

Abstract

This paper studies asymmetry of information and transfers within a unique data set of 712 extended family networks from Tanzania. Using cross-reports on asset holdings, we construct measures of misperception of income among all pairs of households belonging to the same network. We show that there is significant asymmetry of information and no evidence of major systematic over-evaluation or under-evaluation of income in our data, although there is a slight over-evaluation on the part of migrants regarding non-migrants. We develop a static model of asymmetric information that contrasts altruism, pressure and exchange as motives to transfer. The model makes predictions about the correlations between misperceptions and transfers under these competing explanations. Testing these predictions in the data gives support to the model of transfers under pressure or an exchange motive with the recipient holding all the bargaining power.

Suggested Citation

  • De Weerdt, Joachim & Genicot, Garance & Mesnard, Alice, 2014. "Asymmetry of Information within Family Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 8395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8395
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
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    7. Orazio P. Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2011. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models With Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1027-1068, July.
    8. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
    9. Kathleen Beegle & Joachim De Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2011. "Migration and Economic Mobility in Tanzania: Evidence from a Tracking Survey," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 1010-1033, August.
    10. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:24-43. is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-1166, December.
    12. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    13. Pamela Jakiela & Owen Ozier, 2016. "Does Africa Need a Rotten Kin Theorem? Experimental Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 231-268.
    14. Mittag, Nikolas, 2012. "New methods to estimate models with large sets of fixed effects with an application to matched employer-employee data from Germany," FDZ Methodenreport 201201_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    15. Chort, Isabelle & Gubert, Flore & Senne, Jean-Noël, 2012. "Migrant networks as a basis for social control: Remittance incentives among Senegalese in France and Italy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 858-874.
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    Cited by:

    1. De Arcangelis, Giuseppe & Joxhe, Majlinda & McKenzie, David & Tiongson, Erwin & Yang, Dean, 2015. "Directing remittances to education with soft and hard commitments: Evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment and new product take-up among Filipino migrants in Rome," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 197-208.
    2. Genicot, Garance, 2016. "Two-sided altruism and signaling," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 92-97.
    3. Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
    4. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:44 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Brian Dillon & Joachim De Weerdt & Ted O’Donoghue, 2017. "Paying More For Less: Why Don't Households In Tanzania Take Advantage Of Bulk Discounts?," LICOS Discussion Papers 39617, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric information; transfers; pressure; exchange; altruism;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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