The Role of Polygyny in the Intrahousehold Efficiency of Agricultural Production in West Africa
Polygyny is an institution with deep roots in West Africa. Many papers have attempted to explain the rationality and persistence of this phenomenon through time. Less effort has been devoted to studying the effect of polygyny on household economic behavior. This question is policy relevant given the pressure underway to eliminate polygyny. This paper provides new empirical evidence on whether polygyny leads to an improvement or a worsening of intra-household efficiency for three countries with high levels of polygyny: Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The evidence we obtain is mixed. In Benin, polygyny does not seem to have an impact on intra-household efficiency, while it appears, in the longer run, to improve it in Burkina Faso, but to decrease it in Senegal.
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