The intra-household allocation of resources: cross-cultural tests, methodological innovations and policy implications

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Principal Investigator: Alistair Munro. Lead Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London

Co-investigators: Vegard Iversen; Nitya Rao; Arjan Verschoor; Cecile Jackson; Bereket Kebede

We know that gender matters for the incidence of poverty, ignorance and disease. In developing countries, boys tend to be favoured in access to schooling and health care. Women earn less than men and women also work longer hours than men. What are not understood so clearly however are the critical factors for determining resource allocation within the home.

Using experiments, surveys and ethnographic interviews across selected countries we aim to test theories of how resources get allocated within households. We have brought together a team of development experts, anthropologists and experimental economists and, as part of our preparation for this funding, we have already conducted a successful pilot experiment in Uganda.

Out of the research, we anticipate a clearer picture of how efficiency and perceptions of fairness determine household allocation. But we also aim to provide evidence on the value of experiments in a development context. This is an issue that has not received much critical attention despite the increasing popularity of experiments in development studies. Our work will therefore inform policy-makers seeking a clearer understanding of intra-household decision-making for households living in poverty, as well as those seeking guidance on the value of experiments in a development context.

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Research Grant
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Fund Start Date: 
June 13th, 2007
Fund End Date: 
January 31st, 2008
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