Learning in the Household
70 Pages Posted: 25 May 2021 Last revised: 24 Apr 2023
Date Written: May 2021
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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