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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

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Publication | 18 May 2021

Bragging, shirking, and hiding: Spousal disagreement among Ugandan maize farmers

Global Food and Nutrition Security

To gain a better understanding of intrahousehold bargaining processes, surveys increasingly collect data from co-heads individually. Answers provided by spouses on the same set of questions often differ substantially, alternately attributed to measurement error, poor framing within the cultural context that leads to systematic biases, or other common challenges associated with surveys. However, recent studies suggest that differences in responses from co-heads may also be caused by spouses strategically hiding information from each other. Using detailed data on a large sample of monogamous smallholder maize-farming households in eastern Uganda, we document response patterns from household co-heads related to decision-making, labor time, and sales of farm output. We ask each spouse questions about themselves, but also about their spouse, and compare responses. We also implement two interventions to test if such spousal disagreement in reporting can be reduced by increasing cooperation between spouses and reducing information asymmetries.