Why Do African Households Give Hospitality to Relatives?

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This empirical article describes a widespread African phenomenon—hospitality given to relatives—and explains why African households often provide long-term hospitality. A budget and consumption survey carried out in Gabon in 1994 is used to compare the characteristics of households that provide hospitality and the characteristics of guests and the members of nuclear households. A two-step procedure is proposed to determine whether hospitality decisions are made mainly by heads of household or by the extended family. The data suggest that hospitality decisions are made partly by the extended family.

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