Traditional models of household economic behavior have portrayed households as unified entities. They assume that household members agree about decisions and share resources in the most equitable way possible. More recently, however, economists have come to view households as domains of difference, where multiple decisionmakers may have different preferences and, in many cases, control separate sets of resources. This new approach has greatly improved understanding of household resource allocation behavior. It has demonstrated that heterogeneity among members affects a variety of individual, household, and economywide outcomes (Haddad, Hoddinott, and Alderman 1997). Recent research on West African households, in particular, has shown that gender differences in resource allocation behavior result in inefficiencies that reduce overall household production and income (Udry 1996).
Smith, Lisa C.; and Chavas, Jean-Paul. 2003. Supply response of West African agricultural households: implications of intrahousehold preference heterogeneity. In Household decisions, gender, and development: a synthesis of recent research. Quisumbing, Agnes R., ed. Chapter 9. Pp. 67-72. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). http://ebrary.ifpri.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15738coll2/id/129656