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Women or Children? Intra-household redistribution under gender-asymmetric altruism

  • Indraneel Dasgupta

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 University of Nottingham, CREDIT in its series Discussion Papers with number 07/10.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notcre:07/10
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  1. 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.
  2. Breunig & R. & Dasgupta, I., 1999. "Are People Ashamed of Paying with Food Stamps?," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 1999-382, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  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. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2003. "Community And Anti-Poverty Targeting," Working Papers 127774, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  5. Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2001. "Gender-biased redistribution and intra-household distribution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1711-1722, October.
  6. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2007. "Should Egalitarians Expropriate Philanthropists?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6362, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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