Conflict or cooperation? Experimental evidence on intra-household allocations in Ethiopia
New published paper in the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics by Kjetil Bjorvatn (FAIR), Tigabu Degu Getahun (Ethiopian Development Research Institute) and Sandra Kristine Halvorsen (FAIR).
We explore intra-household decision-making using lab experiments with more than 200 married couples in Ethiopia. In contrast to much of the literature that highlights con- flicting interests between household members, we find striking similarities in household allocation preferences and norms of men and women. In particular, men and women are equally cooperative and altruistic in anonymous games, they place equal emphasis on public household goods relative to private goods, and they have similar risk and time preferences. Men do, however, contribute more than women in intra-household public goods and dictator games. Qualitative evidence suggests that this is due to a commonly held norm that wives should be compensated for their greater responsibility in managing household expenses. A household survey conducted some days after the experiment supports the external validity of our findings.