Engel Flexibility in Household Budget Studies: Non-parametric Evidence versus Standard Functional Forms
AbstractAt least since the mid-1970s, the emphasis in applied demand analysis has been on a flexible specification of substitution effects. Recent theoretical work by Cooper and McLaren (1992a, 1992b and 1996) and Cooper, McLaren and Parameswaran (1994) has put more emphasis on effectively globally regular systems which allow greater flexibility in the treatment of Engel effects. However, current empirical work continues to use a relatively inflexible treatment of Engel effects. Following Lewbel's (1991) lead, in the present paper we attempt to evaluate the need for a more flexible treatment by examining Engel effects in the Australian Household Expenditure Survey for 1988-89 from an agnostic position in which the form of the Engel response is entirely data-determined. We do this using non-parametric procedures in the statistical package S-Plus. Contrary to common practice (and confirming Lewbel's empirical results for U.K. and U.S. data), we find evidence of non-monotonic responses of budget shares with increasing income. This argues in favour of more flexible forms for Engel curves such as those explored in recent work by Cooper and McLaren (1996) and by Rimmer and Powell (1992a, 1992b and 1996). Using the same methodology, we also carry out a brief exploration of the influence of demographic effects on household Engel responses.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre in its series Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers with number op-79.
Date of creation: Jun 1994
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
- C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
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"Cobb-Douglas Utility - Eventually!,"
Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers
ip-80, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
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