Productive inefficiency in dairy farming and cooperation between spouses: Evidence from Senegal

We examine productive inefficiencies in dairy farming in pastoralist households in Northern Senegal, and using laboratory games, measure the relationship between spousal cooperation and productive inefficiency directly. In households that behave less cooperatively in the games, cows owned by men produce 10.6% more milk per day than cows owned by women, a gap that remains large and statistically significant after controlling for household, owner, and cow characteristics. Our results suggest that frictions between spouses may indeed explain gender gaps in productivity, and support the use of lab-based measures of household cooperation to complement survey data in explaining collective behaviors.

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