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Decision-making within the Household: The Role of Autonomy and Differences in Preferences

Authors Yonas Alem
Sied Hassen
Gunnar Köhlin
Publisher University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords Preference, Difference, Decision-making, Autonomy, Willingness-to-pay
Subject categories Economics


We use a field experiment to identify how differences in preferences and autonomy in decision-making result in sub-optimal adoption of technologies that can maximize the welfare of all members of the household. We create income-earning opportunities and elicit willingness- to-pay (WTP) for energy-efficient cookstoves through a real stove purchase experiment with randomly chosen wives, husbands and couples. Experimental results suggest that women, who often are responsible for cooking and for collecting fuelwood, reveal a higher preference than men for the improved stoves. Using an instrumental variables tobit estimator, we show that women who have higher decision-making autonomy reveal higher WTP than those who have lower decision-making autonomy. A follow-up survey conducted 15 months after the stove purchase show that autonomy does not affect stove use. Our findings highlight the importance of considering division of labor, different preferences, and bargaining power differences within the household when promoting adoption of new household technologies.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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