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Family Size and the Distribution of Per Capita Income


  • Edward P. Lazear
  • Robert T. Michael


This paper is another contribution to the vast literature which addresses this issue: comparison of household income per capita among households of different structures requires judgment about the relationship between real income and family size. Our work uses a revealed preference approach in which household size/structure variables are included in empirical demand studies and the estimated coefficients on these variables are used to infer equivalence; it differs from many of the other studies not in basic concept but in its empirical strategy. While most studies build family composition effects into a relatively formal structural model of demand and impose considerable restriction in order to obtain an estimable system, we use a reduced-form approach which requires much less of the data.

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  • Edward P. Lazear & Robert T. Michael, 1981. "Family Size and the Distribution of Per Capita Income," NBER Working Papers 0230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0230
    Note: CH

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    3. Muellbauer, John, 1977. "Testing the Barten Model of Household Composition Effects and the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 460-487, September.
    4. Michael Abbott & Orley Ashenfelter, 1976. "Labour Supply, Commodity Demand and the Allocation of Time," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(3), pages 389-411.
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