Learning in the Household
We study social learning between spouses using an experiment in Chennai, India. We vary whether individuals discover information themselves or must instead learn what their spouse discovered via a discussion. Women treat their 'own' and their husband's information the same. In sharp contrast, men's beliefs respond less than half as much to information that was discovered by their wife. This is not due to a lack of communication: husbands put less weight on their wife's signals even when perfectly informed of them. In a second experiment, when paired with mixed- and same-gender strangers, both men and women heavily discount their teammate's information relative to their own. We conclude that people have a tendency to underweight others' information relative to their own. The marital context creates a countervailing force for women, resulting in a gender difference in learning (only) in the household.
We thank workshop audiences at ASSA, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, UNC, Warwick and the Workshop on Subjective Beliefs for helpful comments and feedback. We also thank Nava Ashraf, Ned Augenblick, Oriana Bandiera, Rafael Batista, Leonardo Bursztyn, Arun Chandrasekhar, Katie Coffman, Stefano DellaVigna, Ben Golub, David Laibson, Shengwu Li, Ulrike Malmendier, Sendhil Mullainathan, Ricardo Perez-Truglia, Matthew Rabin, Chris Roth and Dmitry Taubinsky for helpful suggestions and comments. We thank Sangeetha Ramanathan and the entire team at the Behavioral Development Lab in Chennai for excellent research assistance. We thank all our study participants for their time and patience. We thank the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund for funding. We received IRB approval from MIT, protocol #1810538700. The experiment was pre-registered on the AEA registry, number AEARCTR-0004253. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.