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Groups, Networks and Hierarchy in Household Private Transfers: Evidence from Fiji



While economists have studied private transfers exchanged among households within a network extensively, those exchanged directly with groups to which the household belongs—such as ritual gifts, communal work and church donations—in developing countries have received very limited attention. Using original household survey data gathered in rural Fiji, this paper demonstrates that: the group-based transfers are much greater than the network-based transfers, probably because of significant household contributions to groups for the provision of local public goods; and group-based transfers influence network-based transfers through the social hierarchy. A comparison of various groups (e.g. kin and church groups) and social ranks (e.g. those determined by gender, disability, kin elite and religious elite) indicates that network-based transfers adjust to hierarchy bias in group-based transfers, depending on the physical and social connections of groups and networks.

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