Intra-household resource allocation in rural Tanzania: Why women care about disclosure

Ben D'Exelle, Liz Ignowski

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Abstract

How resources from development or social programs are allocated within the household is important for household welfare. Intra-household resource allocation does not only depend on who receives and allocates the resources, but also on whether the resources are disclosed to other household members. In patrilineal societies in rural Tanzania, like the one we selected for this study, we expect disclosure of the available resources to have a stronger effect on women’s allocation decisions than on their husbands’. To test this, we use a choice experiment with 664 couples in rural Tanzania. Each spouse allocates a hypothetical sum of money between themselves, their spouse, and their children. We randomize whether they are told to assume that these resources are disclosed to their spouse. We find that women respond more strongly to disclosure than their husbands. Disclosure of the resources makes women increase the share allocated to their spouse and reduce the share kept to themselves but does not change the share allocated to their children. This disclosure effect is stronger among women with a controlling husband and women who receive transfers from their husband but gets weaker with higher spousal trust.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Early online date20 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jul 2022

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