NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Cote d'Ivoire: Social Norms, Separate Accounts and Consumption Choices

Esther Duflo, Christopher Udry

NBER Working Paper No. 10498
Issued in May 2004
NBER Program(s):   CH

We study resource allocation within households in C“te d'Ivoire. In C“te d'Ivoire, as in much of Africa, husbands and wives farm separate plots, and there is some specialization by gender in the crops that are grown. These different crops are differentially sensitive to particular kinds of rainfall shocks. We find that conditional on overall levels of expenditure, the composition of household expenditure is sensitive to the gender of the recipient of a rainfall shock. For example, rainfall shocks associated with high yields of women's crops shift expenditure towards food. Strong social norms constrain the use of profits from yam cultivation, which is carried out almost exclusively by men. In line with these norms, we find that rainfall-induced fluctuations in income from yams are transmitted to expenditures on education and food, not to expenditures on private goods (like alcohol and tobacco). We reject the hypothesis of complete insurance within households, even with respect to publicly observable weather shocks. Different sources of income are allocated to different uses depending upon both the identity of the income earner and upon the origin of the income.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10498

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