Learning in the Household

70 Pages Posted: 25 May 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by John J. Conlon

John J. Conlon

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Harvard University

Malavika Mani

Columbia University

Gautam Rao

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Matthew Ridley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA)

Frank Schilbach

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA)

Date Written: May 2021

Abstract

We study social learning between spouses using an experiment in Chennai, India. We vary whether individuals discover information themselves or must instead learn what their spouse discovered via a discussion. Women treat their 'own' and their husband's information the same. In sharp contrast, men's beliefs respond less than half as much to information that was discovered by their wife. This is not due to a lack of communication: husbands put less weight on their wife's signals even when perfectly informed of them. In a second experiment, when paired with mixed- and same-gender strangers, both men and women heavily discount their teammate's information relative to their own. We conclude that people have a tendency to underweight others' information relative to their own. The marital context creates a countervailing force for women, resulting in a gender difference in learning (only) in the household.

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Suggested Citation

Conlon, John J. and Conlon, John J. and Mani, Malavika and Rao, Gautam and Ridley, Matthew and Schilbach, Frank, Learning in the Household (May 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28844, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3851847 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3851847

John J. Conlon (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

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Harvard University ( email )

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Malavika Mani

Columbia University

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Gautam Rao

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Matthew Ridley

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
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Frank Schilbach

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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