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Public-good valuation and intrafamily allocation

  • Strand, Jon


    (Department of Economics)

I derive the value 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 one private good for each member, and one common household good. WTPi(H) is then found by trading off the public good against the household good, and WTP(C) by trading the public good off against the private goods. I show that WTPi(H) is on average a correct representation of WTP(C), but is higher (lower) than this average when member 1 has a higher (lower) marginal public good value than member 2. Pure and paternalistic altruism (the latter attached to consumption of the public good) both move each member’s WTP on behalf of the household closer to the true aggregate WTP, while only the latter raises aggregate WTP. The results have important implications for interpretation of results from contingent valuation surveys of public-goods. In a large sample, individuals tend to represent households correctly on average when asked about household WTP, and counting all members’ WTP answers on behalf of the household will lead to double counting.

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Paper provided by Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme in its series HERO On line Working Paper Series with number 2003:20.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 22 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2003_020
Contact details of provider: Postal: HERO / Institute of Health Management and Health Economics P.O. Box 1089 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
Phone: 2307 5309
Fax: 2307 5310
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  1. 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.
  2. Richard Carson & Nicholas Flores & Norman Meade, 2001. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(2), pages 173-210, June.
  3. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Anderson, K.S. & Baland, J-M., 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Discussion Paper 2000-83, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Zhiqi Chen & Frances Woolley, 1999. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Carleton Economic Papers 99-13, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2001.
  8. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Labor and Demography 9401001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  9. 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.
  10. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  11. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
  12. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  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. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521576475 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. John Quiggin, 1998. "Individual and Household Willingness to Pay for Public Goods," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 58-63.
  16. 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.
  17. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
  18. 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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