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Social Networks and Economic Behavior: Impacts of gifting in Tanzania Open Access


Other title
family networks
household productivity
social networks
gift giving
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zigah, Godwin
Supervisor and department
Marcoul, Philippe (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Mohapatra, Sandeep (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Luckert, Martin (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Parkins, John (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Luckert, Martin (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Marcoul, Philippe (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Mohapatra, Sandeep (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Informal institutions such as social networks are often drawn upon in order to protect households from market failures. Social networks often involve gift giving both within and outside the family network to cope with production uncertainties and food insecurity. But some community members avoid giving out gifts to either family members or outsiders. Following literature reviewed, there are three key reasons or motivations for gifting – altruism, reciprocity, and social norms. Although all three motivations may be for any gifting between households, each motivation is more associated with different types of households than others. In this thesis, I assume gifting between households of the same family network is more likely motivated by altruism, or social norms that create obligations, whereas gifting between households of different families is more likely motivated by reciprocity. However, these gifting behaviors may involve behavior such as free-riding or investment in social capital. As such, gift transfers within or outside family networks can affect the productivity activities of those who give and receive gifts. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine how gifting behavior of farmers, among friends and family networks in the Kongwa and Mvomero districts in Tanzania, affects their productive activities. To do so, using primary data obtained from 552 households from 4 villages in each of two districts in Tanzania, a probit model is run to examine the determinants of a household decision to give gifts or not. Also, I estimate a tobit model with household weeding effort and an OLS model with agricultural crop yields as a function of different family types while holding constant other factors that affect agricultural productivity. My results support the idea that the formal economy (i.e. access to formal institutions, or services such as savings and credit institutions) is a substitute to social networks in these rural areas. I also provide estimates that suggest that productive efforts of farmer households differ depending on whether they are engaged in gifting with members of another household unit but within the same family network, or outside their family network. To be specific, the empirical evidence suggests that, relative to households not engaged in gifting, nonfamily gifting households have higher yields whereas family gifting households invest lover productivity efforts by weeding less.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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