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Income, gender and consumption: A study of Malawian households

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  • Davies, Simon

Abstract

This paper uses 1998 household level data from urban Malawi to look at the impact on consumption patterns of the share of total household income accruing to different individuals within the household. Specifically, male and female income shares and other factors which may influence intra-household bargaining such as education are analysed. The study finds that for some categories of good such as personal and household hygiene and clothing, unitary household models are unsuitable as intra-household relationships and differing preferences of individuals play a key role in consumption choices. Overall the results indicate that females favour household hygiene, vehicle repair and girls’ clothing while males favour male clothing. Consumption choices are influenced by both the income and education of the main male and female members, and crucially, the impact of income shares on household consumption is non-linear.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 3944.

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Date of creation: 06 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3944

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Keywords: Household Behaviour; Family Economics; Consumer Economics; Personal Income and Wealth Distribution; Economic Development; Africa; Malawi;

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  1. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Health, Nutrition and Economic development," Papers 95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  2. Phipps, S.A. & Burton, P.S., 1992. "What's Mine is Yours?: The Influence of Male and Female Incomes on Patterns of Household Expenditure," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 92-12, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
  3. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
  4. Browning, Martin, 1995. "Saving and the intra-household distribution of income: an empirical investigation," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 277-292, September.
  5. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
  6. Christian Morrisson & Charles Linskens, 2000. "Les facteurs explicatifs de la malnutrition en Afrique subsaharienne," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 167, OECD Publishing.
  7. Katz, Elizabeth G., 1995. "Gender and trade within the household: Observations from rural guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 327-342, February.
  8. Maitra, Pushkar & Ray, Ranjan, 2003. "The effect of transfers on household expenditure patterns and poverty in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 23-49, June.
  9. Thomas, D., 1989. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Papers 586, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  10. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  11. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-96, December.
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