EfD Colombia organized together with CODS (Center for the Sustainable Development Goals) the first environmental economics seminar of the year 2020 at Universidad de los Andes. The seminar was held on March 11th and the expositor was EfD Colombia Senior Researcher Marcela Ibañez while she was doing field research in Colombia.
The title of the seminar was: “The intrinsic value of decision making: Evidence from a Charitable Giving Experiment in Egypt (joint work with Ghida Karbala and Gerhard Riener)”
The freedom of choice is a fundamental aspect of individuals’ social, economic and political lives. Despite the significant value attached to the freedom of choice, some societies, de-facto, restrict the right to decide to men while women assume a subordinate role. In this paper we address three fundamental questions: Do men and women attach different instrumental values to decision rights? Does this value increase or decrease when individuals decide on behalf of others? and does the identity of the other matter? To investigate these questions we conduct a lab in the field experiment in Cairo, Egypt with a representative sample of 640 individuals of which 160 where
married couples. 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 vote on 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. Results show that both men an women The results show that male and female participants give equal value for decision rights when paired with strangers. Yet, married women paired with their spouse report significantly higher willingness to give up their decision rights. Our findings suggest that conformity with social expectations is an important factor in explaining female lower willingness to make decisions.