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This paper proposes that major determinants of allocation of women's time are social norms that regulate the economic activities of women. Our emphasis on norms contrasts with approaches that view time allocation as determined by household-level economic variables. Using data from Burkina Faso, we show 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 that foster changes in social norms may have more permanent effects on altering women's behavior.


This is the accepted version of the following article: Michael Kevane and Bruce Wydick. Social Norms and the Time Allocation of Women's Labor in Burkina Faso. Review of Development Economics (February 2001), vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 119–129, which has been published in final form at

Presented at the U.C. Berkeley Development Economics Seminar by Kevane, October 1998. Appendix with Proofs and Derivations: .



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