Financial decision-making gender and social norms in Zambia: report on the quantitative data generation, analysis and results and subsequent qualitative follow-up

TitleFinancial decision-making gender and social norms in Zambia: report on the quantitative data generation, analysis and results and subsequent qualitative follow-up
Publication TypeOther
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsA. Barr, M. Dekker, F. Mwansa, and T.L. Zuze
Pagination - 51
Date Published2021
Publisherfsd Zambia
Place PublishedLusaka
Publication Languageeng
Keywordshouseholds, income, savings, social norms, spouses, Zambia
Abstract

This document presents the findings from quantitative and qualitative data generation and analysis conducted as part of the project “Financial decision-making, gender and social norms in Zambia”. Using a series of specially designed behavioural experiments and focus group discussions, we generated an extensive set of insights into the normative environment within which spouses in Eastern Province, Zambia, decide on individual money holding and saving. Here are some of those insights.Spouses in Eastern Province, Zambia, are willing to compromise household-level income to maintain individual control over money. Wives, but not husbands, are more likely to compromise household-level earnings to maintain individual control over money when they can keep that money and their actions hidden from their spouses. Individually-held behavioural prescriptions, i.e., the “shoulds” and “oughts” that individuals have in mind and reference as guides for their behaviour and benchmarks against which to evaluate others’ behaviour, inform decision-making about maintaining individual control over money at a cost to the household. Further, when individuals know that their spouses will find out about their decisions regarding maintaining individual control over money (or not) at a cost to the household, the individuals take their spouses’ opinions about what they should do into account, i.e., they compromise. In the Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), wastefulness on the part of spouses was consistently given as a reason for endeavouring to maintain individual control over money. There is strong but not unequivocal evidence pointing to the existence of a social norm, i.e., a “should” or “ought” that is collectively held and enforced by members of a community, forbidding saving in secret from one’s spouse, with the secrecy, not the saving being the problem. Assuming it exists, this social norm forbidding saving in secret from one’s spouse applies to both husbands and wives, and both husbands and wives acknowledge this. However, the extent to which violations of this norm are tolerated depends on who is doing the violating and evaluating. In patrilineal communities (as compared to matrilineal communities), both husbands and wives are especially intolerant of secret saving by husbands, and in both patrilineal and matrilineal communities, wives are less tolerant than husbands of secret saving by husbands and more tolerant than husbands of secret saving by wives. This relative tolerance of secret saving by wives notwithstanding, just under one in three wives and one in sixhusbands think that a man is justified in beating his wife if he discovers that she is saving in an e-wallet or has joined a savings group without his knowledge and, as grounds for wife-beating, saving in secret is on a par with neglecting the children, visiting friends or family in secret and refusing to have sex. When exploring the reasons for this strong norm against saving in secret in the FGDs, women express fear about the money going missing if the secret saver dies unexpectedly. Both men and women strongly believe that if a wife saves in secret, it raises suspicions about where she is getting the money and that saving in secret can lead to marital tension.

IR handle/ Full text URLhttps://hdl.handle.net/1887/3303358
Citation Key11704