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Two can live as cheaply as one... But three's a crowd

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  • Christopher R. Bollinger
  • Cheti Nicoletti
  • Stephen Pudney

Abstract

To measure poverty, incomes must be equivalized across households with different structures. In this paper, we use a very flexible ordered response model to analyze the relationship between income, demographic structure and subjective assessments of financial wellbeing drawn from the 1991-2008 British Household Panel Survey. Our results suggest the existence of large scale economies within marital/cohabiting couples, but substantial diseconomies from the addition of children or further adults. This pattern contrasts sharply with commonly-used equivalence scales, and is consistent with explanations in terms of the capital requirements associated with additions to the core couple.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 12/23.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/23

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Postal: Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
Phone: (0)1904 323776
Fax: (0)1904 323759
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Web page: http://www.york.ac.uk/economics/
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Keywords: Equivalence scales; subjective wellbeing;

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References

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  1. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
  2. Almlund, Mathilde & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2011. "Personality Psychology and Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. McClements, L. D., 1977. "Equivalence scales for children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 191-210, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Pudney, Stephen, 2011. "Perception and retrospection: The dynamic consistency of responses to survey questions on wellbeing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 300-310.
  6. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
  7. Heineck, Guido & Anger, Silke, 2010. "The Returns to Cognitive Abilities and Personality Traits in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 535-546.
  8. 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.
  9. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition," Economics Technical Papers 988, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  10. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Stefanie Schurer, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  11. Bargain, Olivier & Donni, Olivier, 2009. "The Measurement of Child Costs: A Rothbarth-Type Method Consistent with Scale Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 4654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Dickens, Richard & Fry, Vanessa & Pashardes, Panos, 1993. "Non-linearities and Equivalence Scales," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 359-68, March.
  13. Beegle, Kathleen & Himelein, Kristen & Ravallion, Martin, 2012. "Frame-of-reference bias in subjective welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 556-570.
  14. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  15. Muellbauer, John, 1979. "McClements on equivalence scales for children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 221-231, October.
  16. Melenberg, B. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1996. "Measuring the costs of children: Parametric and semiparametric estimators," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-72215, Tilburg University.
  17. Charlier, Erwin, 2002. "Equivalence Scales in an Intertemporal Setting with an Application to the Former West Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 99-126, March.
  18. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  19. Praag, B.M.S. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1976. "A new approach to the construction of family equivalence scales," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361896, Tilburg University.
  20. Baetschmann, Gregori & Staub, Kevin & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2011. "Consistent Estimation of the Fixed Effects Ordered Logit Model," IZA Discussion Papers 5443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Menno Pradhan & Martin Ravallion, 2000. "Measuring Poverty Using Qualitative Perceptions Of Consumption Adequacy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 462-471, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "Home Sweet Home? Macroeconomic Conditions in Home Countries and the Well-Being of Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 7862, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Biewen, Martin & Juhasz, Andos, 2013. "A Goodness-of-Fit Approach to Estimating Equivalence Scales," IZA Discussion Papers 7209, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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