Discussion paper

DP11464 Gender and Agency within the Household: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

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.

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Citation

Fafchamps, M and F Said (eds) (2016), “DP11464 Gender and Agency within the Household: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 11464. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11464