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Income, expenditure and the living standards of UK households

  • Richard Blundell

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Ian Preston

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

Despite the widespread use of income as a measure of household welfare, there is much to recommend the use of consumption. Indeed, standard economic arguments suggest that consumption expenditure will better reflect expected lifetime resources and many economists have been unequivocal in advocating its use. Slesnick (1993), for example, suggests that ‘From a theoretical perspective it is more appropriate to evaluate poverty using a consumption based measure of household welfare’. Cutler and Katz (1992) state that ‘Economic theory suggests that permanent income or consumption is a more accurate measure of the distribution of resources than is current income’. Poterba (1989) argues that `If households base their spending plans on their expected lifetime income, then consumption provides a more accurate measure of resources than does annual income’.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 16 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 40-54

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:16:y:1995:i:3:p:40-54
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  1. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  2. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1993. "Gaining Ground: Poverty in the Postwar United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-38, February.
  3. Poterba, J.M., 1989. "Lifetime Incidence And The Distributional Burden Of Excise Taxes," Working papers 510, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Preston, Ian, 1994. "Life-cycle expenditure allocations and the consumption costs of children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1391-1410, August.
  5. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1993. "Consumer demand and the life-cycle allocation of household expenditures," IFS Working Papers W93/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. McClements, L. D., 1977. "Equivalence scales for children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 191-210, October.
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