Intra‐Household Experiments: A Survey

42 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2018

See all articles by Alistair Munro

Alistair Munro

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2018


Experiments with family groups are rare, but since many decisions are taken at the household level or occur within the household it is an important area to investigate. This paper provides a survey of the recent experimental work on intra‐household decision‐making. I discuss some of the challenges involved in doing experiments with couples and families and consider major areas that remain yet to be explored. While general themes from the research are still emerging, four results repeatedly occur: (1) the absence of efficiency in intra‐household decisions; (2) joint decisions that are not a convex combination of individual decisions; (3) individual behaviour is affected by opportunities for hiding actions from spouses and (4) deviations from standard models of microeconomics in line with those seen in the anomalies literature of individual decision‐making.

Keywords: Couples, Experiment, Family, Household

Suggested Citation

Munro, Alistair, Intra‐Household Experiments: A Survey (February 2018). Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 32, Issue 1, pp. 134-175, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Alistair Munro (Contact Author)

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) ( email )



University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
Surrey, Surrey TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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