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Are Children Decision-Makers Within the Household?

  • Anyck Dauphin
  • Abdel-Rahmen El Lahga
  • Bernard Fortin
  • Guy Lacroix

Children are seldom accounted for in household behavioural models. They are usually assumed to have neither the capacity nor the power to influence the household decision process. The literature on collective models has so far incorporated children through the caring preferences of their parents [Bourguignon (1999)] or has treated them as household public goods [Blundell et al. (2005)]. This paper seeks to determine whether children of a certain age are decision-makers. We focus on the decision-making process within households composed of two adults and one child of at least 16 years of age living together. We first summarise the main restrictions that have been proposed to test the collective model in the context of multiple decision-makers [Chiappori and Ekeland (2006)]. We also show how a minimal number of decision-makers can be inferred from parametric constraints. Second, we apply these tests on data drawn from a series of U.K. Family Expenditure Surveys. Our results show clear evidence that children aged 16 and more and living with their parents influence the household decision-making process. When the analysis is stratified by age and by gender, our results reveal that it is also the case for children aged between 16 and 21 and for daughters. The collective model is never rejected. Les enfants sont rarement pris en considération dans les modèles de comportement des ménages. On présume généralement qu'ils ne possèdent ni la capacité ni le pouvoir d'influencer le processus décisionnel du ménage. La littérature portant sur les modèles collectifs a, jusqu'à maintenant, intégré les enfants par le truchement des « préférences altruistes » de leurs parents [Bourguignon (1999)] ou les a traités comme des biens publics des ménages [Blundell et al. (2005)]. Le présent document tente de déterminer si les enfants d'un certain âge jouent un rôle décisionnel. Nous mettons l'accent sur le processus de prise de décision au sein des ménages composés de deux adultes et d'un enfant âgé d'au moins 16 ans vivant ensemble. Nous résumons d'abord les principales restrictions qui ont été proposées pour tester le modèle collectif dans le contexte de décideurs multiples [Chiappori et Ekeland (2006)]. Nous montrons aussi que les contraintes paramétriques laissent supposer un nombre minimal de décideurs. Ensuite, nous appliquons ces tests aux données extraites d'une série de sondages sur les dépenses des familles au Royaume-Uni. Nos résultats fournissent l'évidence que les enfants âgés de 16 ans et plus vivant avec leurs parents influencent le processus décisionnel du ménage. Lorsque l'analyse est stratifiée selon l'âge et le genre, nos résultats révèlent qu'il en est de même pour les enfants âgés entre 16 et 21 ans, filles ou garçons. Le modèle collectif n'est jamais rejeté.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2010s-17.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2010s-17
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