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Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health

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  • Mark R. Rosenzweig
  • Kenneth I. Wolpin

Abstract

This paper outlines a simple dynamic model of child health incorporating uncertainty to demonstrate the complexity of household decision rules concerning the allocation of resources to and across children when there is variation in child traits within the family and in healthiness across families. Empirical results informed by the model indicate that parental behavior responds to unanticipated health outcomes among children and is also significantly associated with more persistent health factors that vary across families. As a consequence, estimates of child health effects of parental decisions, or the fertility effects of child mortality that ignore the behavioral consequences of interfamily and intrafamily heterogeneity are biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 437-461.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:23:y:1988:i:4:p:437-461
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    1. Dov Chernichovsky & Douglas Coate, 1977. "The Choice of Diet for Young Children and Its Relation to Children's Growth," NBER Working Papers 0219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1982. "Inequality within and between Families," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 105-127, February.
    3. Heller, Peter S. & Drake, William D., 1979. "Malnutrition, child morbidity and the family decision process," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 203-235, April.
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