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Mother or Child? Intra-Household Redistribution under Gender-Asymmetric Altruism

  • Dasgupta, Indraneel


    (Indian Statistical Institute)

In developing societies, social norms typically ascribe differential weights to paternal, maternal and communal (or state) contributions to children's expenses. Individuals internalize these valuations. I examine a Cournot model of voluntary contribution to children's goods in a two-adult household, where both spouses may have marginal rates of substitution across paternal, maternal and communal contributions that differ from unity. I show that a conflict may exist between the interests of parents and those of children. Depending on the marginal rate of substitution between paternal and maternal contributions, a lump-sum redistribution from fathers to mothers may make children better off, but both parents worse off, or vice versa. Additional public contribution funded by a lump-sum tax on either parent may make children better off, but at the cost of both parents. Thus, proposals to redistribute income from fathers to mothers need to take into account socially valorized gendered asymmetries in parental roles. Furthermore, there may exist a conflict, instead of congruence, between women and their children.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4529.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Globalization and Development, 2011, 2 (1), Article 2
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4529
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  1. Indraneel Dasgupta & Ravi Kanbur, 2005. "Community and anti-poverty targeting," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 281-302, December.
  2. Breunig & R. & Dasgupta, I., 1999. "Are People Ashamed of Paying with Food Stamps?," Papers 382, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  3. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2003. "Economics of common property management regimes," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 127-190 Elsevier.
  4. Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2001. "Gender-biased redistribution and intra-household distribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1711-1722, October.
  5. Indraneel Dasgupta & Ravi Kanbur, 2006. "Should Egalitarians Expropriate Philanthropists?," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-11, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  6. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
  7. Ihori, Toshihiro, 1996. "International public goods and contribution productivity differentials," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 139-154, July.
  8. Robert V. Breunig & Indraneel Dasgupta, 2002. "A Theoretical and Empirical Evaluation of the Functiona Forms Used to Estimate the Food Expenditure Equation of Food Stamp Recipients: Comment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1156-1160.
  9. Ihori, Toshihiro, 1992. "Impure public goods and transfers in a three-agent model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 385-401, August.
  10. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2007. "Community and class antagonism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1816-1842, September.
  11. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  12. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  13. Robert Breunig & Indraneel Dasgupta, 2005. "Do Intra-Household Effects Generate the Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(3), pages 552-568.
  14. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  15. Cornes,Richard & Sandler,Todd, 1996. "The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521477185.
  16. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
  17. Cornes, Richard & Sandler, Todd, 1994. "The comparative static properties of the impure public good model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 403-421, July.
  18. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
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