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Allocation within the household: direct survey evidence

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  • Martin Browning
  • Jens Bonke

Abstract

We report on a new diary based expenditure survey that for the first time collects direct information on the allocation of all expenditures to different members of the household. The most important finding from the survey is that the mean share that wives have of all expenditures that are assignable to husband or wife is well determined and very close to one half. Despite this equality at the mean, there is considerable dispersion across the population and in half of households one partner receives twice as much (or more) as the other. Moreover, these expenditures comprise a sizable part of the household budget. For example, the mean joint expenditure by husbands and wives on their own private, assignable goods accounts for 11% of disposable income. The main observable determinants of the variation of sharing expenditures across couples are a mixture of variables found in previous studies and variables that have not been considered before. As regards the former, we find that wives in higher educated and/or higher income households have a higher expenditure share. The other familiar effect is that the wife`s share of assignable expenditures is increasing in her share of gross income. Turning to variables that have not previously been considered in the literature, we find that some of these are highly significant and also have a strong impact on sharing. If the husband had a mother who was in full-time employment when he was aged 14 then he receives over two percentage points more of assignable expenditure than if his mother was not employed full-time. The strongest effect is also the most puzzling. If the wife has a child who is not the natural child of her partner then she receives six percentage points of assignable expenditure less than an otherwise comparable woman. On the other hand, men do better if they have had a previous child.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 286.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:286

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Keywords: Intrahousehold Allocation; Sharing;

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References

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  1. Valerie Lechene & Martin Browning, 2004. "Collective and unitary models: a clarification," Economics Series Working Papers 191, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  4. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in semiparametric binary response models," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, 2013. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1267-1303.
  6. François Bourguignon & Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori, 2006. "Efficient Intra-household Allocations and Distribution Factors: Implications and Identification," CAM Working Papers 2006-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  7. Davidson, R. & Mackinnon, J.G., 1997. "Bootstrap Testing in Nonlinear Models," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97a39, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  8. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1999. "Higher-Order Improvements of a Computationally Attractive-Step Bootstrap for Extremum Estimators," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1230, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Pahl, Jan, 1995. "His money, her money: Recent research on financial organisation in marriage," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 361-376, September.
  10. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2001. "Efficiency in Marriage," NBER Working Papers 8642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:ese:iserwp:2007-28 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Hélène Couprie & Gaëlle Ferrant, 2012. "Welfare Comparisons, Economies of Scale and Equivalence Scale in Time Use," THEMA Working Papers 2012-43, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  3. Figari, Francesco & Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Sutherland, Holly, 2007. "Inequalities within couples: market incomes and the role of taxes and benefits in Europe," EUROMOD Working Papers EM6/07, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  4. John Knowles & John Kennes, 2011. "Marriage, Fertility and Step-Families: An Equilibrium Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 227, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2011. "The Revealed Preference Approach to Collective Consumption Behaviour: Testing and Sharing Rule Recovery," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 176-198.
  6. Antonella Caiumi & Federico Perali, 2010. "Who Bears the Full Costs of Children?," Working Papers 01/2010, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

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