Publication Date:

01 Sep 2003


Pfeiffer J. (2003) Cash income, intrahousehold cooperative conflict, and child health in central Mozambique. Medical Anthropology. 2003;22(2):87-130.



This study presents qualitative data on individual cash income generation and intrahousehold bargaining in a sample of 100 households in central Mozambique. It is now recognized that intrahousehold resource allocation patterns can be critical determinants of children’s health in the developing world. Recently developed “bargaining-power” models suggest that individual incomes are often not pooled in households and that decisions are the result of a bargaining process that involves cooperation and conflict between men and women. Women’s income, many believe, is more often spent on child welfare. Development projects should target benefits to women for greater impact on child health. Some argue that households consist of separate, gendered spheres of economic responsibility that intersect through a “conjugal contract” that defines the terms of cooperation. The findings here support the “separate-spheres” depiction of the household and reveal women’s subordinated position in the external cash economy, which undermines their intrahousehold bargaining power.


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