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Confronting the Robinson Crusoe paradigm with household-size heterogeneity

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  • Koulovatianos, Christos
  • Schröder, Carsten
  • Schmidt, Ulrich

Abstract

Modern macroeconomics empirically addresses economy-wide incentives behind economic actions by using insights from the way a single representative household would behave. This analytical approach requires that incentives of the poor and the rich are strictly aligned. In empirical analysis a challenging complication is that consumer and income data are typically available at the household level, and individuals living in multimember households have the potential to share goods within the household. The analytical approach of modern macroeconomics would require that intra-household sharing is also strictly aligned across the rich and the poor. Here we have designed a survey method that allows the testing of this stringent property of intra-household sharing and find that it holds: once expenditures for basic needs are subtracted from disposable household income, household-size economies implied by the remainder household incomes are the same for the rich and the poor. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2008/24.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200824

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Keywords: Linear Aggregation; Representative Consumer; Equivalence Scales; Survey Method; Household-Size Economies;

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References

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  1. Christos Koulovatianos & Carsten Schroder & Ulrich Schmidt, 2004. "On the Income Dependence of Equivalence Scales," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 1-2004, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
  3. Caselli, F. & Ventura, J., 1996. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," Working papers 96-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  5. Donaldson, David & Pendakur, Krishna, 2006. "The Identification of Fixed Costs From Consumer Behavior," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 255-265, July.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
  7. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, . "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-11, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  8. Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
  9. Koulovatianos, Christos & Schröder, Carsten & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2006. "Family-type subsistence incomes," Discussion Papers 2006/5, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  10. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. " Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-64, September.
  12. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  13. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  16. Donaldson, D. & Pendakur, K., 1999. "Equivalent-Income Functions and Income-Dependent Equivalence Scales," Discussion Papers dp99-8, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
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Cited by:
  1. Carolina Achury & Sylwia Hubar & Christos Koulovatianos, 2012. "Saving Rates and Portfolio Choice with Subsistence Consumption," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), pages 108-126, January.

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