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Tuesday, August 3 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
5C2 Intrahousehold Risk Sharing: Evidence from Samburu County, Kenya

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Andrew Hobbs, University of San Francisco

Women often bear the brunt of negative shocks to household incomes. I show that non-cooperative models household models with voluntary contributions to public goods can explain this result, and conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment testing household public goods insurance as a potential solution to the problem. In a non-cooperative model, the poorer member of the household, who in many cases is a woman, reduces downside risk for her partner by stepping in to pay for public goods and reducing her own consumption in the event of negative shocks to his income. This structure puts women's consumption at risk when their partner's income or assets are faced with negative shocks. I test demand for household goods insurance relative to traditional asset insurance with a lab-in-the-field experiment in Samburu County, Kenya. The data support the hypothesis generated by the model: women buy more insurance when it is linked to household public goods rather than male-owned assets. The results suggest that in cases where men are primary breadwinners, household public goods insurance may have greater benefits for women than traditional asset insurance. More broadly, I argue that household structure can lead to gendered differences in decisions and outcomes even absent differences in individual preferences.


Benjamin Collier

Temple University


Andrew Hobbs

Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco

Tuesday August 3, 2021 2:30pm - 4:00pm EDT

Attendees (7)