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Ménages, crise et bien-être dans les pays en développement : quelques enseignements de la littérature récente

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    Abstract

    The renewal of economic household theory (collective models and consumer-producerhousehold models) recalls into question the initial simplism of the traditional consumer theory. In order to analyse households, it is nowadays necessary to take their intrinsic of double agent nature into account, that is the household as consumer and producer. This point is particularly important for developing country, where the farm cannot be dissociated from domestic unit. Price and income modifications therefore bring about a profit effect which must be added to the usual income and substitution effects. In production as well as in consumption matters, the household's response may be then as surprising as legitimate. However, the consumer-producer household analysis is still based on the hypothesis of the existence of an indivisible household utility- function, whereas the aggregation of individual preferences creates fearsome problems which the economist can only solve by setting out strong hypothesis. We propose a short empirical review of these hypothesis based on the re-examination of recent data concerning the internal family inegality and based on data which call the existence of resource centralization in the household back into question. In supposing the heterogeneity of the household members'preferences, the collective model eludes the necessity of such doubtful hypothesis. The recognition of the households'internal diversity reintroduces the possibility of power struggles inside the household and, at the same time, frees from the hypothesis of household resource centralization. If the economic crisis affects the households' internal resource allocation, it also changes the households' internal balance of power. This change of the balance ofpower implies a supplementary modification of the households' demand. Thus, the weakening of women's power of negotiation during the structural adjustment programmes might have increased the recessionnist effect of the crisis, since resources controlled by women seem to have better consequences on household well-being than those held by men, at least for Sub-saharan Africa. The household economic theory renewal (collective models and consumer-producer household models) questionnes the consumer traditional theory initial simplism. To analyse households, their intrinsic nature of double agent must be taken into account, that is their consumer and producer nature. This point is particularly important for developing country in which farms can't be dissociated from domestic unit. So do price and income modifications entail the appearance of a profit effect which must be added to usual income and substitution effects. In production as well as in consumption matter, the households response may be then as surprising as legitimate. Nevertheless, the consumer-producer household analyse rest still on the existence of an indivisible utility-household function hypothesis. Thus, the individuals preferences agregation pose fearsome problems which can be solved only by setting out strong hypothesis. A short empirical review of these hypothesis is then proposed thanks to the re-examination of recent figures concerning the internal family inegality and thanks to figures by which the existence of the resources centralization in the household is thrown back into question. If the heterogeneity of the membership household preferences is supposed, the collective model elude the necessity of so doubtful hypothesis. The recognition of the internal household diversity reintroduces the possibility of balance of power inside the household thouggh it frees from the resources household centralization hypothesis. The economic crisis, insofar it changes the household resources allocation has some impact on the balance of power inside the household. This balance ofpower development implies a supplementary modification of household demand. Thus, the weakening of women negotiation power during the structural adjustment programs might have reinforced the recessionnist effect of crisis for the reason that resources controled by women seems to have better consequences on household well-being than those hold by men, at least for Subsaharian Africa. (Full text in French)

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    Paper provided by Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV in its series Documents de travail with number 19.

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    Length: 12 pages
    Date of creation: May 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:mon:ceddtr:19

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