The lion’s share. An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria

Munro, Alistair, Kebede, Bereket, Tarazona-Gomez, Marcela and Verschoor, Arjan (2018) The lion’s share. An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria. Economic Development and Cultural Change. ISSN 0013-0079

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    Although polygamy is common in many parts of the world, most economic analysis of the household focuses on monogamy. We use simple public good games to investigate experimentally theories of household behavior. A unique aspect of our research is that half our sample are polygynous households recruited systematically from villages in rural areas south of Kano, Northern Nigeria, one of the modern heartlands of polygyny. Spouses play two variants of a voluntary contributions game in which endowments are private knowledge, but contributions are public. In one variant, the common pool is split equally. In the other treatment the husband allocates the pool (and wives are forewarned of this). Most partners keep back at least half of their endowment from the common pool, but we find no evidence that polygynous households are less efficient than their monogamous counterparts. We reject a strong form of Bergstrom’s model of polygyny in which all wives receive an equal allocation. Senior wives often receive more from their husbands, no matter what their contribution. Thus their return to contributions is higher compared to their junior counterparts. However, the clearest result is that when they control the allocation, polygynous men receive a higher payoff compared to both their wives and their monogamous counterparts.

    Item Type: Article
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
    Depositing User: Pure Connector
    Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2017 06:05
    Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 12:50
    DOI: 10.1086/700102

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