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Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach

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  • Duncan Thomas

Abstract

If household income is pooled and then allocated to maximize welfare then income under the control of mothers and fathers should have the same impact on demand. With survey data on family health and nutrition in Brazil, the equality of parental income effects is rejected. Unearned income in the hands of a mother has a bigger effect on her family's health than income under the control of a father; for child survival probabilities the effect is almost twenty times bigger. The common preference (or neoclassical) model of the household is rejected. If unearned income is measured with error and income is pooled then the ratio of maternal to paternal income effects should be the same; equality of the ratios cannot be rejected. There is also evidence for gender preference: mothers prefer to devote resources to improving the nutritional status of their daughters, fathers to sons.

Suggested Citation

  • Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:25:y:1990:i:4:p:635-664
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