Other Unpublished Work | 2013

Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia

by Nava Ashraf, Erica Field and Jean Lee


We posit that household decision-making over fertility is characterized by moral hazard due to the fact that most contraception can only be perfectly observed by the woman. Using an experiment in Zambia that varied whether women were given access to contraceptives alone or with their husbands, we find that women given access with their husbands were 19% less likely to seek family planning services, 25% less likely to use concealable contraception, and 27% percent more likely to give birth. However, women given access to contraception alone report a lower subjective well-being, suggesting a psychosocial cost of making contraceptives more concealable.

Keywords: Family and Family Relationships; Negotiation; Developing Countries and Economies; Zambia;


Ashraf, Nava, Erica Field, and Jean Lee. "Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia." September 2013. (2nd revision resubmitted, American Economic Review.)