WIDER Seminar Series

Marcela Ibanez on the intrinsic value of decision making - evidence from a bargaining experiment in Egypt

Marcela Ibanez will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 18 March 

Absract - The intrinsic value of decision making: Evidence from a bargaining experiment in Egypt

This paper uses an experimental approach to examine the causal effect of social norms on the intrinsic value of decision making. A representative sample of 640 individuals residing in Cairo, Egypt, were confronted with the decision to donate from a joint income to the Egyptian Red Crescent.

In a first step, subjects made donation decisions after being paired either with their spouses, or a randomly chosen participant from the same population.

In a second step, subjects were asked anonymously to indicate how strongly they would like their donation preferences to be implemented; the decision of the subject with the higher indicated number was then realized for payment; ties were broke at random.

Results show that married women paired with their spouse have significantly lower willingness to retain the right to decide on resource allocation over a joint income. Elicited beliefs regarding the partner’s willingness to retain decision rights show that married women behave in a way that is consistent with the expectations of the spouse and the general cultural setting persisting in Egypt.

Results suggest that in the presence of prescribed social identities and well-defined gender roles, outcomes as expected by the standard bargaining models fail to prevail.

These models are incomplete without taking into account internal constraints to agency that are to a large extent shaped by the existing cultural setting.

About the speaker

Marcela Ibáñez-Díaz is an Associate Professor of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen. She leads the Behavioral Development Economics group in the Centre for the Study of Poverty, Equity and Growth. Marcela Ibáñez-Díaz’s research interests also include Labor Economics and Policy Evaluation.

In 2014 she received the Science Award from the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture. She is a member of the program Environment for Development (EfD).

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email tomi@wider.unu.edu

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