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Heterogeneity, Intrafamily Distribution, and Child Health

  • Mark R. Rosenzweig
  • Kenneth I. Wolpin

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.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 23 (1988)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 437-461

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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. 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.
  3. Eytan Sheshinski & Yoram Weiss, 1979. "Inequality Within and Between Families," NBER Working Papers 0405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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