Gender and Agency within the Household: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

60 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2016

See all articles by Uzma Afzal

Uzma Afzal

University of Nottingham; Lahore School of Economics - Center for Research in Economics and Business

Giovanna D'Adda

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (DEMM)

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Farah Said

Centre for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

Theoretical and empirical work on intra-household decision making capture empowerment through bargaining weights given to individual preferences, and infer such weights from household consumption allocations. In this paper we test two key hypotheses underlying this work: first, that spousal influence is the same for all private consumption goods; and second, that women have pent up demand for pure agency. We use data from a survey and a novel laboratory experiment implemented with adult couples in Pakistan. We find that women's influence on household decisions is decreasing in the importance of the decision. We find no evidence that women have pent up demand for agency. Instead, women are less willing to pay for agency when facing an unknown man. We interpret this evidence as suggesting that women in our study population have internalized gender norms, and that these norms regulate interactions between genders most strongly outside of the household. We also find little evidence, within our experimental setting, that willingness to pay for agency is affected by the instrumental value of agency.

Keywords: agency, Consumption, empowerment, intrahousehold efficiency, sharing rule

JEL Classification: D13, O15

Suggested Citation

Afzal, Uzma and D'Adda, Giovanna and Fafchamps, Marcel and Said, Farah, Gender and Agency within the Household: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan (August 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11464, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2831968

Uzma Afzal (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Lahore School of Economics - Center for Research in Economics and Business ( email )

Intersection Main Boulevard
Phase VI DHA and Burki Road
Burki, Lahore 54000
Pakistan

Giovanna D'Adda

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (DEMM) ( email )

Via Conservatorio, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Farah Said

Centre for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics ( email )

Intersection DHA VI and Burki
Burki
Lahore, Punjab 53200
Pakistan

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