Hoem Sjursen presents at CSAE Conference 2017

20 March 2017 15:23

(updated: 20 March 2017 15:32)

Hoem Sjursen presents at CSAE Conference 2017

On 20 March, The Choice Lab’s PhD student Ingrid Hoem Sjursen presents the paper “Household bargaining and spending on children: Experimental evidence from Tanzania” which is joint work with fellow PhD-student Charlotte Ringdal.

The presentation takes place at the CSAE Conference 2017: Economic Development in Africa, at St Catherine's College, Oxford, running from Sunday 19th - Tuesday 21st March 2017.

The Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) is an economic research centre within the Department of Economics at Oxford University.

CSAE carries out economic research with a particular focus on Africa. Its aim is to improve economic and social conditions in the poorest societies. CSAE researchers often use unique data which give them unrivalled insight into the underlying issues. The resulting policy recommendations address questions in the economic and political spheres as well as in civil society in developing countries.

Read more at the conference website, or read the abstract of the paper “Household bargaining and spending on children: Experimental evidence from Tanzania” below.

Policy makers and aid programs frequently assume that female empowerment leads to increased household spending on children, but empirical and theoretical evidence are mixed. This paper studies whether an increase in the wife's bargaining power causes couples to allocate more resources to their child, and, if so, what the underlying mechanisms for this might be. We conduct a novel between-subject lab experiment where we vary the relative bargaining power between spouses. The paper provides two main insights. First, increasing the wife's bargaining power does not cause an increase in the allocation to the child, but leads to more equal allocations to boys and girls. Second, time preferences are important in explaining the household decision. It is more beneficial for the child that the most patient spouse has most bargaining power. This implies that increasing the wife's bargaining power may reduce the allocation to the child if she is the less patient spouse. These findings highlight the importance of studying a broad set of preferences in household decision-making. If policy makers want to increase spending on children, our study suggest that targeting the wife only makes sense when she has preferences better aligned with such spending than the husband does.