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Status and egalitarianism in traditional communities: An analysis of funeral attendance in six Zimbabwean villages

  • Abigail Barr
  • Mattea Stein

This paper explores two hypotheses concerning the role of status in relationships between rich and poor in traditional communities by analyzing who goes to whose funerals in six Zimbabwean villages.� Funerals allow status to be observed because non-attendance is a sign of disrespect.� We find that the richer a household hosting a funeral, the less likely heads of neighbouring households are to attend.� Thus, the status-for-insurance hypothesis - that the poor bestow status upon the rich in return for help in times of need - is rejected in favour of the egalitarianism hypothesis - that richer households are denied status.

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File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2008-26text.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2008-26.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2008-26
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Flore Gubert, 2005. "The Formation of Risk Sharing Networks," Working Papers DT/2005/13, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  2. Jan Willem Gunning & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey & Trudy Owens, 2000. "Revisiting forever gained: Income dynamics in the resettlement areas of Zimbabwe, 1983-96," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 131-154.
  3. Stefan Dercon & Joachim De Weerdt, 2002. "Risk-sharing Networks and Insurance against illness," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold, 2004. "Group-based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2004-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Kinsey, Bill & Burger, Kees & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1998. "Coping with drought in Zimbabwe: Survey evidence on responses of rural households to risk," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-110, January.
  6. Abigail Barr & Marleen Dekker, 2008. "Risk Sharing Relations and Enforcement Mechanisms," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Fafchamps, Marcel, 1992. "Solidarity Networks in Preindustrial Societies: Rational Peasants with a Moral Economy," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 147-74, October.
  8. Joachim De Weerdt & Marcel Fafchamps, 2011. "Social Identity and the Formation of Health Insurance Networks," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(8), pages 1152-1177, June.
  9. Dekker, Marleen, 2004. "Sustainability and Resourcefulness: Support Networks During Periods of Stress," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1735-1751, October.
  10. De Weerdt, Joachim, 2002. "Risk-Sharing and Endogenous Network Formation," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Matching in community-based organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 203-219.
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