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Household Behavior and the Marriage Market

  • Daniela Del Boca
  • Christopher J. Flinn

There is some controversy in the field of household economics regarding the efficiency of household decisions. We make the point that a flexible specification of spousal preferences and the household production technology precludes the possibility of using revealed preference data on household time allocations to determine the manner in which spouses interact: efficiently or inefficiently. Under strong, but standard, assumptions regarding marriage market equilibria, marital sorting patterns can be used essentially as “out of sample” information that allows us to assess whether household behavior is efficient or not. We develop a new likelihood-based metric to compare marriage market fits under the two alternative behavioral assumptions. We use a sample of households drawn from a recent wave of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and find strong evidence supporting the view that household behavior is (constrained) efficient.

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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 254.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:254
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  1. Martin Browning & P.A. Chiappori, 1996. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations - A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Discussion Papers 96-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn, 2009. "Endogeneous Household Interaction," Working Papers 2009-001, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
  3. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  4. Fernández, Raquel & Guner, Nezih & Knowles, John, 2001. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3040, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. François Bourguignon & Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori, 2006. "Efficient Intra-household Allocations and Distribution Factors: Implications and Identification," CAM Working Papers 2006-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  6. John Dagsvik & Helge Brunborg & Ane Flaatten, 2001. "A behavioral two-sex marriage model," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 97-121.
  7. Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-68, July.
  8. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 1999. "More on marriage, fertility, and the distribution of income," Working Paper 9904, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  9. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-48, October.
  10. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:857-895 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Randall P. Walsh & Murat F. Iyigun, 2004. "Building the Family Nest: A Collective Household Model with Competing Pre-Marital Investments and Spousal Matching," 2004 Meeting Papers 168, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  14. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  15. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
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