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Is utility transferable? A revealed preference analysis

  • Laurens CHERCHYE
  • Thomas DEMUYNCK
  • Bram DE ROCK

We provide a revealed preference analysis of the transferable utility hypothesis, which is widely used in economic models. First, we establish revealed preference conditions that must be satisfied for observed group behavior to be consistent with Pareto efficiency under transferable utility. Next, we show that these conditions are easily testable by means of integer programming methods. The tests are entirely nonparametric, which makes them robust with respect to specification errors. Finally, we demonstrate the practical usefulness of our conditions by means of an application to Spanish consumption data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical test of the transferable utility hypothesis.

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Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces11.02.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces11.02
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  1. Cherchye, Laurens & Demuynck, Thomas & De Rock, Bram, 2015. "Is utility transferable? a revealed preference analysis," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(1), January.
  2. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  3. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2005. "Best nonparametric bounds on demand responses," IFS Working Papers W05/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
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  6. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 2010. "Testable implications of transferable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1302-1317, May.
  7. Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Revealed preference with a subset of goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 179-185, October.
  8. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Cornes, Richard C., 1981. "Gorman and Musgrave are dual : An Antipodean theorem on public goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 371-378.
  9. Tim Beatty & Ian Crawford, 2010. "How demanding is the revealed preference approach to demand," CeMMAP working papers CWP17/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2011. "The revealed preference approach to collective consumption behavior: nonparametric testing and sharing rule recovery," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/98560, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  11. Martin Browning & M. Dolores Collado, 2001. "The Response of Expenditures to Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 681-692, June.
  12. Cherchye, Laurens & Crawford, Ian & De Rock, Bram & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2011. "Aggregation without the Aggravation? Nonparametric Analysis of the Representative Consumer," IZA Discussion Papers 6266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Hurwicz, Leonid, 1995. "What is the Coase Theorem?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 49-74, May.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Laurens CHERCHYE & Thomas DEMUYNCK & Bram DE ROCK, 2009. "Testable implications of general equilibrium models: an integer programming approach," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces09.14, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  16. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2007. "The collective model of household consumption : A nonparametric characterization," Other publications TiSEM 0a104373-4fb6-4ef2-9d2b-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  17. Ian Crawford, 2010. "Habits Revealed," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1382-1402.
  18. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2011. "The revealed preference approach to collective consumption behavior : Testing and sharing rule recovery," Other publications TiSEM 11c788ab-cf82-4759-a6a8-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  19. Varian, Hal R., 1985. "Non-parametric analysis of optimizing behavior with measurement error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 445-458.
  20. Donald J. Brown & Caterina Calsamiglia, 2005. "The Nonparametric Approach to Applied Welfare Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1507, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  21. Laurens Cherchye & Thomas Demuynck & Bram De Rock, 2011. "Revealed preference analysis of noncooperative household consumption," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/131709, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  22. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  23. Diewert, W E, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 419-25, July.
  24. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Varian, Hal R., 1985. "When do market games have transferable utility?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 222-233, August.
  25. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Cornes, Richard C, 1983. "Independence of Allocative Efficiency from Distribution in the Theory of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1753-65, November.
  26. Varian, Hal R., 1990. "Goodness-of-fit in optimizing models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 125-140.
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