Incentives and nutrition for rotten kids: intrahousehold food allocation in the Philippines
Using data on individual consumption expenditures from a sample of farm households in the Philippines, we construct a direct test of the risk-sharing implications of the collective household model. We are able to contrast the efficient outcomes predicted by the collective household model with the outcomes we might expect in environments in which food consumption delivers not only utils, but also nutrients which affect future productivity. Finally, we are able to contrast each of these two models with a third, involving a hidden action problem within the household; in this case, the efficient provision of incentives implies that the consumption of each household member depends on their (stochastic) productivity. The efficiency conditions which characterize the within-household allocation of food under the collective household model are violated, as consumption shares respond to earnings shocks. If future productivity depends on current nutrition, then this can explain some but not all of the response, as it appears that the quality of current consumption depends on past earnings. This suggests that some actions taken by household members are private, giving rise to a moral hazard problem within the household.
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