Making agricultural households cooperative: Experimental evidence from East Africa
This study investigates the impact of an intensive coaching package introducing participatory intrahousehold decision-making, randomly encouraged among monogamous couples in Ugandan and Tanzanian smallholder coffee farming households who participated in awareness raising, on the efficiency of couples’ investment and allocation decisions measured in a lab-in-the-field experiment. Two consecutive Voluntary Contribution Mechanism (VCM) games measured investment decisions, subsequent simultaneous modified dictator games allocation decisions. Free and costless in-game communication per couple preceded the second VCM game in a random two thirds of experiments. The effects of intensive coaching treatment, in-game communication and differential effects of communication in control and treatment group are estimated with models that include random effects for each couple and account for non-compliance with encouragement. The intensive coaching, versus only attending awareness raising, did not affect the efficiency of couples’ investment and allocation decisions. The intensive coaching caused husbands to make more efficient investment decisions in the second VCM game without communication. That effect differs between husbands and wives, whose decisions were not significantly affected by the intensive coaching in the second VCM game without communication. The intensive coaching improved the accuracy of wives’ expectations about their husbands’ contributions in the first and second VCM game with communication. The accuracy of the expectations by husbands in the control group about their wives’ contributions improved as a result of in-game communication. Wives in the control group exhibited less altruist/cooperative norm abiding behavior in the second VCM game as a result of in-game communication.