Social Norms and the Time Allocation of Women’s Labor in Burkina Faso

Michael Kevane, Santa Clara University
Bruce Wydick


This paper proposes that major determinants of allocation of women’s time are social norms that regulate the economic activities of women. The emphasis on norms contrasts with approaches that view time allocation as determined by household-level economic variables. Using data from Burkina Faso, it is shown that social norms significantly explain differences in patterns of time allocation between two ethnic groups: Mossi and Bwa. Econometric results show women from the two groups exhibiting different responses to changes in farm capital. Implications are that policies changing social norms may have more permanent effects on altering women’s behavior.