Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment
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.
Volume (Year): 74 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| |
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.