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Are Gifts and Loans between Households Voluntary?

  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Margherita Comola

Using village data from Tanzania, we test whether gifts and loans between households are voluntary while correcting for mis-reporting by the giving and receiving households. Two maintained assumptions underlie our analysis: answers to a question on who people would turn to for help are good proxies for willingness to link; and, conditional on regressors, the probability of reporting a gift or loan is independent between giving and receiving households. Building on these assumptions, we develop a new estimation methodology that corrects for response bias. Our testing strategy is based on the idea that, if lending and gift giving are voluntary, then both households should want to rely on each other for help. We find only weak evidence to support bilateral link formation. We do, however, find reasonably strong evidence to support unilateral link formation. Results suggest that if a household wishes to enter in a reciprocal relationship with someone who is sufficiently close socially and geographically, it can do so unilaterally.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2010-20.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2010-20
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  1. Margherita Comola & Marcel Fafchamps, 2009. "Testing Unilateral and Bilateral Link Formation," CSAE Working Paper Series 2009-13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  2. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  3. De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2006. "Risk-sharing networks and insurance against illness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 337-356, December.
  4. Hayami, Y & Platteau, J-P, 1997. "Resource Endowments and Agricultural Development : Africa vs. Asia," Papers 192, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
  5. Marcel Fafchamps & Susan Lund, 2000. "Risk-Sharing Networks in Rural Philippines," Economics Series Working Papers 10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, 1995. "Imperfect Commitment, Altruism, and the Family: Evidence from Transfer Behavior in Low-Income Rural Areas," Home Pages _075, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1997. "Informal Insurance Arrangements in Village Economies," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 9705, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  8. Fafchamps, Marcel & Gubert, Flore, 2007. "The formation of risk sharing networks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 326-350, July.
  9. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Matching in community-based organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 203-219.
  10. repec:pse:psecon:2009-30 is not listed on IDEAS
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