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Confronting the Robinson Crusoe paradigm with household-size heterogeneity

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  • Christos Koulovatianos
  • Carsten Schröder
  • Ulrich Schmidt

Abstract

Modern macroeconomics empirically addresses economy-wide incentives behind economic actions by using insights from the way a single representative household would behave. This analytical approach requires that incentives of the poor and the rich are strictly aligned. In empirical analysis a challenging complication is that consumer and income data are typically available at the household level, and individuals living in multimember households have the potential to share goods within the household. The analytical approach of modern macroeconomics would require that intra-household sharing is also strictly aligned across the rich and the poor. Here we have designed a survey method that allows the testing of this stringent property of intra-household sharing and find that it holds: once expenditures for basic needs are subtracted from disposable household income, household-size economies implied by the remainder household incomes are the same for the rich and the poor. --

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 122247000000002324.

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Date of creation: 06 Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:122247000000002324

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  1. Christos Koulovatianos & Carsten Schroder & Ulrich Schmidt, 2004. "On the Income Dependence of Equivalence Scales," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 1-2004, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. " Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-64, September.
  3. Jaume Ventura & Francesco Caselli, 2000. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 909-926, September.
  4. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Donaldson, D. & Pendakur, K., 1999. "Equivalent-Income Functions and Income-Dependent Equivalence Scales," Discussion Papers dp99-8, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  6. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  9. Christos Koulovatianos & Carsten Schröder & Ulrich Schmidt, 2006. "Family-Type Subsistence Incomes," Vienna Economics Papers 0602, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  10. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  11. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  12. Donaldson, David & Pendakur, Krishna, 2006. "The Identification of Fixed Costs From Consumer Behavior," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 255-265, July.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  14. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  15. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Achury, Carolina & Hubar, Sylwia & Koulovatianos, Christos, 2011. "Saving rates and portfolio choice with subsistence consumption," CFS Working Paper Series 2011/06, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  2. Carolina Achury & Sylwia Hubar & Christos Koulovatianos, 2011. "Online Appendix to "Saving Rates and Portfolio Choice with Subsistence Consumption"," Technical Appendices 10-11, Review of Economic Dynamics.

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