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Intra-household efficiency; An experimental study from Ethiopia

Bereket Kebede (), Marcela Tarazona, Alistair Munro and Arjan Verschoor

No 2011-01, CSAE Working Paper Series from Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford

Abstract: Using data from experimental games and household survey from 1,200 married couples in three sites in Ethipoia, this paper uses different versions of a voluntary contribution mechanism to test for household efficiency. The experimental and econometric analyses provide many interesting results that have far-reaching implications for intra-houisehold models. Efficiency in contribution behaviour is decisively rejected in all treatments casting doubt on 'unitary' and 'collective' household models that assume Pareto optimality – significant amounts of potential surplus are not realised. Contribution rates by males and females are not significantly different from each other undermining models that argue females tend to contribute more to the family (for example, Sen 1990). Information on itital endowments of spouses improves contribution rates (efficiency) in some treatments while not having effect in others suggesting that the effect of information is context dependent. Actual and expected contribution rates of spouses are systematically different; husbands' expect their wives will contribute more than their actual contributions and wives expect their husbands will contribute lower than actual contribution. These systematic errors in expectations imply that the attainment if equilibrium in a game theoretic framework is unlikely. Statistical tests indicate that instead of efficiency considerations other norms are likely important. For example, in many of the treatments spouses contributed around half of their endowments implying either a norm like fairness or focal points influence decisions. Overall, most of the empirical resulst cast doubt on cooperative models and provide some support for behaviour guided either by farirness or other norms.

Keywords: household efficiency; intra-household models; experimental games; ethiopia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D03 D13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev and nep-exp
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8)

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Related works:
Journal Article: Intra-household Efficiency: An Experimental Study from Ethiopia (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Intra-Household Efficiency: an Experimental Study from Ethiopia (2013) Downloads
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