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Does Africa need a rotten Kin Theorem ? experimental evidence from village economies

  • Jakiela, Pamela
  • Ozier, Owen

This paper measures the economic impact of social pressure to share income with kin and neighbors in rural Kenyan villages. The authors conduct a lab experiment in which they randomly vary the observability of investment returns. The goal is to test whether subjects reduce their income in order to keep it hidden. The analysis finds that women adopt an investment strategy that conceals the size of their initial endowment in the experiment, although that strategy reduces their expected earnings. This effect is largest among women with relatives attending the experiment. Parameter estimates suggest that women behave as though they expect to be pressured to share four percent of their observable income with others, and substantially more when close kin can observe income directly. Although this paper provides experimental evidence from a single African country, observational studies suggest that similar pressure from kin may be prevalent in many rural areas throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6085.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6085
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  13. Ligon, Ethan & Thomas, Jonathan P & Worrall, Tim, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 209-44, January.
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  15. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  16. Robinson, Jonathan, 2008. "Limited Insurance Within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," MPRA Paper 8314, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  17. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
  18. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
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  21. Anderson, K.S. & Baland, J-M., 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Discussion Paper 2000-83, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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