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Public-Good Valuation and Intrafamily Allocation

  • Jon Strand

I derive values of marginal changes in a public good for two-person households, measured alternatively by household member i’s willingness to pay (WTP) for the good on behalf of the household, WTPi(H), or by the sum of individual WTP values across family members, WTP(C). Households are assumed to allocate their resources in efficient Nash bargains over private and common household goods. WTPi(H) is then found by trading off the public good against household goods, and WTP(C) by trading the public good off against private goods. I then find that WTPi(H) is higher (lower) when member i has a high (low) marginal valuation of the public good, but on average represents WTP(C) correctly. Individuals then tend to represent households correctly on average when questioned about the household’s WTP for a public good, even when they are purely selfish and answer truthfully. Counting all members’ WTP answers on behalf of the household then leads to double counting. Pure and paternalistic altruism (the latter attached to consumption of the public good) move each member’s WTP on behalf of the household closer to the true aggregate WTP, but only the latter raises aggregate WTP.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1351.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1351
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  1. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
  2. Aura, Saku, 2005. "Does the balance of power within a family matter? The case of the Retirement Equity Act," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1699-1717, September.
  3. Johansson, Per-Olov, 1994. "Altruism and the value of statistical life: Empirical implications," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-118, March.
  4. Jones-Lee, M W, 1991. " Altruism and the Value of Other People's Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 213-19, April.
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  10. Quiggin, John, 1992. "Risk, self-protection and ex ante economic value--some positive results," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 40-53, July.
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  13. Bartik, Timothy J., 1988. "Evaluating the benefits of non-marginal reductions in pollution using information on defensive expenditures," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 111-127, March.
  14. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  15. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  16. Browning, M. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Efficient Intra-Household allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," DELTA Working Papers 94-16, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  17. Carson, Richard T & Flores, Nicholas A, 2000. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt75k752s7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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