IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment

Listed author(s):
  • Maurizio Mazzocco

In this paper, a formal test of intra-household commitment is derived and performed. To that end, two models of household intertemporal behaviour are developed. In both models, household members are characterized by individual preferences. In the first formulation, household decisions are always on the ex ante Pareto frontier. In the second model, the assumption of intra-household commitment required by ex ante efficiency is relaxed. It is shown that the full-efficiency household Euler equations are nested in the no-commitment Euler equations. Using this result, the hypothesis that household members can commit to future allocations of resources is tested using the Consumer Expenditure Survey. I strongly reject this hypothesis. It is also shown that the standard unitary framework is a special case of the full-efficiency model. However, if household members are not able to commit, household intertemporal behaviour cannot be characterized using the standard life-cycle model. These findings have two main implications. First, policy makers can change household behaviour by modifying the decision power of individual household members. Second, to evaluate programmes designed to improve the welfare of household members, it would be beneficial to replace the standard unitary model with a characterization of household behaviour that allows for lack of commitment. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 857-895

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895
Contact details of provider:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.