Article thumbnail

Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why?

By Hopfensitz Astrid Couprie Helene Cochard François


Models of household economics require an understanding of economic interactions in families. Social ties, repetition and reduced strategic uncertainty make social dilemmas in couples a very special case that needs to be empirically studied. In this paper we present results from a large economic experiment with 100 maritally living couples. Participants made decisions in a social dilemma with their partner and with a stranger. We predict behavior in this task with individual and couples' socio-demographic variables, efficiency preferences and couples' marital satisfaction. As opposed to models explaining behavior amongst strangers, the regressions on couples’ decisions highlight clear patterns concerning cooperation behavior which could inspire future household decision-making models.Noncooperative Games; Laboratory, Individual Behavior; Household Production and Intra-household Allocation

OAI identifier:

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

Suggested articles


  1. (1999). A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation,
  2. (1981). A treatise of the family.
  3. (2005). An experiment on risky choice amongst households.
  4. (2008). Are Preferences Stable Across Domains? An Experimental Investigation of Social Preferences in the Field.
  5. (2008). Are smarter groups more cooperative? Evidence from prisoner’s dilemma experiments,
  6. (2003). Charitable Giving by Married Couples. Who Decides and Why Does it Matter?
  7. (1982). Children and Marital Happiness: A Further Specification of the Relationship.
  8. (1992). Collective models of household behavior: an introduction.
  9. (2006). Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments.
  10. (2004). Contemporary Psychological Research on Social Dilemmas.
  11. (1996). Cooperation without reputation: Experimental evidence from prisoner’s dilemma games.
  12. (2003). Costs and Rewards of Children: The Effects of Becoming a Parent on Adults' Lives.
  13. (1997). Development of prosocial, individualistic, and competitive orientations: Theory and preliminary evidence.
  14. (2006). Do wealth differences affect fairness considerations?
  15. (1993). Does studying economics inhibit cooperation?
  16. (2004). Economic stress and marital adjustment among couples: analyses at the dyadic level.
  17. (1999). Empathy-induced altruism in a prisoner's dilemma.
  18. (2000). ERC – A theory of equity, reciprocity, and competition,
  19. (2007). Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment.
  20. (2004). Free-Riding and the Provision of Public Goods in the Family: A Laboratory Experiment.
  21. (2008). Gender differences in preferences.
  22. (1995). Introduction to Experimental Economics.
  23. (2004). Is trust a risky decision?
  24. (1976). Measuring dyadic adjustment: New scales for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads.
  25. (2000). Modes of interaction between divorced parents.
  26. (2005). Moral property rights in bargaining with infeasible claims.
  27. (2008). On the Nature, Modeling and Neural Bases of Social Ties
  28. (2006). Parochial altruism in humans.
  29. (1999). Population Census
  30. (1992). Prisoner's dilemma: John von Neumann, game theory and the puzzle of the bomb.
  31. (2002). Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects.
  32. (1966). Risk orientation as a predictor in the Prisoner's Dilemma.
  33. (2008). Social ties and coordination on negative reciprocity: The role of affect.
  34. (1981). Sociological versus strategic factors in bargaining.
  35. (2009). Spousal Control and Intra-Household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines,
  36. (2009). The distribution of financial well-being and income within the household.
  37. (2006). The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence from random assignment to real social groups.
  38. (1999). The impact of personality on behavior in five Prisoner's Dilemma games.
  39. (1988). The measurement of relationships. In
  40. (1999). The Pursuit of Joint Outcomes and Equality in Outcomes: An Integrative Model of Social Value Orientation.
  41. (1999). The sound of silence in Prisoner's dilemma and dictator games.
  42. (1986). Traduction française de l'echelle d'ajustement dyadique.
  43. (1975). Two person bargaining: an experimental test of the nash axioms.
  44. (2000). Using the Dyadic Adjustment Scale in Marital Therapy: An Exploratory Study,
  45. (2001). Which is the fair sex? Gender differences in altruism.
  46. (2004). Young, Selfish and Male: Field Evidence of Social Preferences.