Do spouses realise cooperative gains? Experimental evidence from rural Uganda
Intra-household efficiency is tested by using experimental data from variants of a public good game from 240 couples in rural Uganda. Spouses frequently do not maximise surplus from cooperation and realise a greater surplus when women are in charge of allocating the common pool. Women contribute less than men. These results cast doubts on many models of household decision making including unitary and collective models and on Sen's (1990) conjecture of greater female identification with household interests. We also find strong evidence for opportunism, where spouses don't contribute to the common pool even when they are in control of its allocation. Experimental results are correlated with some socio-economic conditions in a manner suggesting that assortative matching improves household efficiency. The development of non-cooperative intra-household models that allow in their empirical implementation for sensitivity to the context-specificity of gender relations seems to be a promising direction for future research.
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