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Allocation within the household: direct survey evidence

  • Martin Browning
  • Jens Bonke

We report on a new diary based expenditure survey that for the first time collects direct information on the allocation of all expenditures to different members of the household. The most important finding from the survey is that the mean share that wives have of all expenditures that are assignable to husband or wife is well determined and very close to one half. Despite this equality at the mean, there is considerable dispersion across the population and in half of households one partner receives twice as much (or more) as the other. Moreover, these expenditures comprise a sizable part of the household budget. For example, the mean joint expenditure by husbands and wives on their own private, assignable goods accounts for 11% of disposable income. The main observable determinants of the variation of sharing expenditures across couples are a mixture of variables found in previous studies and variables that have not been considered before. As regards the former, we find that wives in higher educated and/or higher income households have a higher expenditure share. The other familiar effect is that the wife`s share of assignable expenditures is increasing in her share of gross income. Turning to variables that have not previously been considered in the literature, we find that some of these are highly significant and also have a strong impact on sharing. If the husband had a mother who was in full-time employment when he was aged 14 then he receives over two percentage points more of assignable expenditure than if his mother was not employed full-time. The strongest effect is also the most puzzling. If the wife has a child who is not the natural child of her partner then she receives six percentage points of assignable expenditure less than an otherwise comparable woman. On the other hand, men do better if they have had a previous child.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper286.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 286.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:286
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  1. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
  2. François Bourguignon & Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori, 2006. "Efficient Intra-household Allocations and Distribution Factors: Implications and Identification," CAM Working Papers 2006-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  3. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, 2013. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1267-1303.
  4. Valerie Lechene & Martin Browning, 2004. "Collective and unitary models: a clarification," Economics Series Working Papers 191, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-96, December.
  6. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1999. "Higher-Order Improvements of a Computationally Attractive-Step Bootstrap for Extremum Estimators," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1230, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Richard W. Blundell & James L. Powell, 2004. "Endogeneity in Semiparametric Binary Response Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71, pages 655-679, 07.
  8. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  9. Davidson, R. & Mackinnon, J.G., 1997. "Bootstrap Testing in Nonlinear Models," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 97a39, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  10. Pahl, Jan, 1995. "His money, her money: Recent research on financial organisation in marriage," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 361-376, September.
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