UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Tomoe Bourdier, University of California, Davis

Intra-household Bargaining and Food Stock Management in Farm Households

Date and Location

Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


Can the intra-household division of responsibilities over food consumption and marketing decisions limit opportunities for consumption smoothing via the storage of own-produced crops? Using a non-unitary model in which one agent controls production decisions, market sales and purchases, and another makes daily food consumption decisions on behalf of the household, I identify two types of household inefficiencies that may occur when the two agents present diverging individual preferences and fail to cooperate: 1) net income losses from selling pulses after harvest and purchasing pulses again from the market when prices are higher; and 2) imperfect inter-temporal consuming smoothing, which may leave both agents worse off. In order to test these predictions, I conduct a series of incentivized experimental games in farm households of Bihar, India and combine experimental measures of individual preferences and intra-household cooperation over pulse stock management with survey data on the household’s pulse production and consumption outcomes. Analysis of the experiments suggests that women present higher marginal valuation of pulses than their male partner and that households incur larger losses when men form the opening offer in a sequential bargaining game. However, I find no conclusive evidence that survey-based measures of household inefficiency are explained by game-elicited measures of inefficiency.

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