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Is It Money or Brains? The Determinants of Intra-Family Decision Power

Author

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella

    () (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

  • Brunetti, Marianna

    () (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

  • Torricelli, Costanza

    () (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

Abstract

We empirically study the determinants of intra-household decision power with respect to economic and financial choices using a suitable direct measure provided in the 1989-2010 Bank of Italy Survey of Household Income and Wealth. Focusing on a sample of couples, we evaluate the effect of each spouse's characteristics, household characteristics, and background variables. We find that the probability that the wife is in charge is affected by household characteristics such as family size and total income and wealth, but more importantly that it increases with the difference between hers and her husband's characteristics in terms of age, education, and income. The main conclusion is that decision-making power over family economics is not only determined by strictly economic differences, as suggested by previous studies, but also by differences in human capital and experience. Finally, exploiting the time dimension of our dataset, we show that this pattern is increasing over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Brunetti, Marianna & Torricelli, Costanza, 2012. "Is It Money or Brains? The Determinants of Intra-Family Decision Power," IZA Discussion Papers 6648, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6648
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Rita Testa & Laura Cavalli & Alessandro Rosina, 2014. "The Effect of Couple Disagreement about Child-Timing Intentions: A Parity-Specific Approach," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 40(1), pages 31-53, March.
    2. Elisabetta Gualandri & Valeria Venturelli, 2013. "The financing of Italian firms and the credit crunch: findings and exit strategies," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 13101, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Bozzano, Monica, 2016. "Women, medieval commerce, and the education gender gap," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 496-521.
    4. Grabka, Markus M. & Marcus, Jan & Sierminska, Eva, 2015. "Wealth Distribution within Couples," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 459-486.
    5. Elena Giarda & Gloria Moroni, 2018. "The Degree of Poverty Persistence and the Role of Regional Disparities in Italy in Comparison with France, Spain and the UK," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 163-202, February.
    6. C. Pederzoli & C. Torricelli, 2013. "Efficiency and unbiasedness of corn futures markets: new evidence across the financial crisis," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(24), pages 1853-1863, December.
    7. Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke & Bram De Rock & Philip Verwimp, 2018. "The power of the family: kinship and intra-household decision making in rural Burundi," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 323-346, June.
    8. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2015. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 263-300.
    9. Klaus Forstner & Karin Wagner, 2014. "How Gender-Specific Are Payments? A Study Based on Austrian Survey Data from 1996 to 2011," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 36-53.
    10. Elsa Fornero, 2015. "Economic-financial Literacy and (Sustainable) Pension Reforms: Why the Former is a Key Ingredient for the Latter," Bankers, Markets & Investors, ESKA Publishing, issue 134, pages 6-16, January-F.
    11. Joseph Deutsch & Jacques Silber, 2017. "Does women’s empowerment affect the health of children? The case of Mozambique," WIDER Working Paper Series 211, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Stefano Cosma & Elisabetta Gualandri, 2014. "The sovereign debt crisis: the impact on the intermediation model of Italian banks," BANCARIA, Bancaria Editrice, vol. 2, pages 48-60, February.
    13. repec:mod:depeco:0007 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Carlo Alberto Magni, 2015. "Pseudo-naïve approaches to investment performance measurement," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 15021, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    15. Massimo Baldini & Giovanni Gallo & Costanza Torricelli, 2017. "Past Income Scarcity and Current Perception of Financial Fragility," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 17121, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    16. AINA, Carmen & MAZZOTTA, Fernanda & PARISI, Lavinia, 2014. "Bargaining or efficiency within the household? The case of Italy," CELPE Discussion Papers 130, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    17. Stefano Cosma & Francesca Pancotto & Paola Vezzani, 2018. "Customer Complaining and Probability of Default in Consumer Credit," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 18031, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    18. Elisabetta Gualandri & Mario Noera, 2014. "Monitoring Systemic Risk: A Survey Of The Available Macroprudential Toolkit," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 14111, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    19. Enrico Rubaltelli & Sergio Agnoli & Michela Rancan & Tiziana Pozzoli, 2015. "Emotional Intelligence and risk taking in investment decision-making," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 15107, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    family economics; intra-household decision power; gender differences;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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