Experimental Economics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 383–401 | Cite as

The influence of spouses on household decision making under risk: an experiment in rural China

  • Fredrik Carlsson
  • Peter Martinsson
  • Ping Qin
  • Matthias Sutter


We study household decision making in a high-stakes experiment with a random sample of households in rural China. Spouses have to choose between risky lotteries, first separately and then jointly. We find that spouses’ individual risk preferences are more similar the richer the household and the higher the wife’s relative income contribution. A couple’s joint decision is typically very similar to the husband’s preferences, but women who contribute relatively more to the household income, women in high-income households, and women with communist party membership have a stronger influence on the joint decision.


Household decision making Risk Experiment in the field China 

JEL Classification

C91 C92 C93 D10 


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fredrik Carlsson
    • 1
  • Peter Martinsson
    • 1
  • Ping Qin
    • 2
  • Matthias Sutter
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.School of EconomicsRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Public FinanceUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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