Gender Roles and Intra-Household Allocation: Identifying Differences in the Incentives to Hide Money Across Spouses in Ghana

We present a simple model of intra-household allocation between spouses to show that when there is asymmetric information over monetary transfers between spouses, the incentives to hide income depend on the role spouses play within the household. We test the model with data from a field experiment in Ghana and an in-depth household survey. Ghana is an interesting place to test this since men and women hold separate economies and spending patterns differ by gender. The model is specified in accordance to the marital contract in Ghana, such that intra-household transfers occur between spouses. In other settings, this threat point may seem of little interest because the redistribution of resources between spouses would have no effect on allocations. However, when household bargaining evidences gender roles and strictly positive transfers occur between spouses, there can be incentives to hide private resources, and these incentives differ depending on the role each spouse plays within the marital contract. Results indicate that hiding occurs and that it differs by gender. Husband‘s allocate private cash transfers to alcohol consumption and gifts to his social network, while the wife lends the money out which makes it difficult for the husband to have access to the money. When the cash transfer is public, both spouses increase their gifts to their social network. Further evidence suggests this could be due to social pressure to share.

Issue Date:
Aug 12 2012
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
D13; D82; J12.

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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