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The Measurement of Household Cost Functions: Revealed Preference versus Subjective Measures

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  • Kapteyn, Arie

Abstract

Since the work of Pollak and Wales (1979), it is well-known that demand data are insufficient to identify a household cost function. Hence additional information is required. For that purpose I propose to employ direct measurement of feelings of well-being, elicited in surveys. In the paper I formally establish the connection between subjective measures and the cost function underlying the AID system. The subjective measures fully identify cost functions and the expenditure data do this partly. This makes it possible to test the null hypothesis that both types of data are consistent with one another, i.e. that they measure the same thing. I use two separate data sets to set up a test of this equivalence. The outcomes are somewhat mixed and indicate the need for further specification search. Finally, I discuss some implications of the outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Kapteyn, Arie, 1994. "The Measurement of Household Cost Functions: Revealed Preference versus Subjective Measures," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(4), pages 333-350, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:7:y:1994:i:4:p:333-50
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    1. van de Stadt, Huib & Kapteyn, Arie & van de Geer, Sara, 1985. "The Relativity of Utility: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 179-187, May.
    2. Arie Kapteyn & Peter Kooreman & Rob Willemse, 1988. "Some Methodological Issues in the Implementation of Subjective Poverty Definitions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(2), pages 222-242.
    3. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
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