IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Disagreement in Partners’ Reports of Financial Difficulty


  • Robert Breunig


  • Deborah Cobb-Clark


  • Xiaodong Gong


  • Danielle Venn


We use unique data in which both partners report about household finances to demonstrate that there is often disagreement about whether the household has experienced financial difficulty in the past year. Four alternative explanations for this disagreement are tested using the data. The results indicate that disagreement may be related to the severity of the underlying material hardship rather than to gender differences or individual (as opposed to household) views of financial difficulty. We find only weak evidence that information asymmetries explain couple disagreement about financial difficulty. This implies that standard surveys which collect information about the household’s financial position from a representative individual may fail to completely characterize the nature of material hardship.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Breunig & Deborah Cobb-Clark & Xiaodong Gong & Danielle Venn, 2006. "Disagreement in Partners’ Reports of Financial Difficulty," CEPR Discussion Papers 520, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:520

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nolan, Brian & Whelan, Christopher T., 2011. "Poverty and Deprivation in Europe," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199588435, June.
    2. Susan E. Mayer & Christopher Jencks, 1989. "Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 88-114.
    3. Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1993. "A survey of theories of the family," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 21-79 Elsevier.
    4. Plug, Erik J. S. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1998. "Similarity in response behavior between household members: An application to income evaluation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 497-513, August.
    5. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
    6. Zagorsky, Jay L., 2003. "Husbands' and wives' view of the family finances," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 127-146, May.
    7. Kurt Bauman, 1999. "Shifting family definitions: The effect of cohabitation and other nonfamily household relationships on measures of poverty," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(3), pages 315-325, August.
    8. Pahl, Jan, 1995. "His money, her money: Recent research on financial organisation in marriage," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 361-376, September.
    9. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
    10. Gianni La Cava & John Simon, 2003. "A Tale of Two Surveys: Household Debt and Financial Constraints in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2003-08, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Household Finances; Survey Methodology; Material Hardship;

    JEL classification:

    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:520. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.