Journal of Development Economics, 100(1), 1-18, January 2013. Lead Article.
I propose a model of household decision-making under asymmetric information and show that resulting allocations may not be fully cooperative. The model yields a simple test for cooperative decision-making, which I apply to data from China. I find that, when the father migrates without his family, children spend more time in household production, while mothers spend less time in both household production and income-generating activities. This is not consistent with standard cooperative models of the household: simply reallocating time to compensate for the father's absence would cause an increase in household labor for both children and mothers and, if migration occurs in response to a negative shock, we should observe an increase in mothers' time in income-generating activities rather than a reduction. The results also do not appear to be driven by an increase in mothers' bargaining power, as children's human capital is not affected by migration, controlling for income.