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Taking it in turn: an experimental test of theories of the household

Author

Listed:
  • Munro, Alistair
  • McNally, Tara
  • Popov, Danail

Abstract

Using a sample of established couples, we conduct an experiment on household decision-making. Individual partners first make a series of dichotomous choices between household goods and vouchers for experiences and then the couple jointly face the same choices. A random lottery device is used to incentivize the decisions. We find clear evidence of turn-taking as a method of resolving disagreements. In other words, when one partner wins one disputed question, it raises the probability that the other partner wins the next dispute. Given the arbitrary order of the questions this suggests that standard decision-theoretic models of household behaviour are inadequate and that instead, much behaviour might be concerned with relationship maintenance rather than the allocation of goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Munro, Alistair & McNally, Tara & Popov, Danail, 2008. "Taking it in turn: an experimental test of theories of the household," MPRA Paper 8976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8976
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8976/1/MPRA_paper_8976.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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..
    2. Davis, Harry L, 1976. " Decision Making within the Household," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 241-260, March.
    3. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro, 2005. "An Experiment on Risky Choice Amongst Households," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 176-189, March.
    4. Corfman, Kim P & Lehmann, Donald R, 1987. " Models of Cooperative Group Decision-Making and Relative Influence: An Experimental Investigation of Family Purchase Decisions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-13, June.
    5. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-748, October.
    6. Messick, David M., 1999. "Alternative logics for decision making in social settings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 11-28, May.
    7. Dufwenberg, Martin, 2002. "Marital investments, time consistency and emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 57-69, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. François Cochard & Hélène Couprie & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2016. "Do spouses cooperate? An experimental investigation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-26, March.
    2. Alistair Munro & Danail Popov, 2013. "A portmanteau experiment on the relevance of individual decision anomalies for households," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(3), pages 335-348, September.
    3. Melanie Schröder & Norma Burow, 2016. "Couple's Labor Supply, Taxes, and the Division of Housework in a Gender-Neutral Lab," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1593, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experiment; household choice; turn-taking; invariance; marriage; family;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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