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Nonparametric Welfare Analysis for Discrete Choice

  • Debopam Bhattacharya

Abstract: We consider empirical measurement of exact equivalent/compensating variation resulting from price-change of a discrete good, using individual-level data. We show that for binary and multinomial choice, the marginal distributions of EV/CV are nonparametrically point-identified solely from the conditional choice-probabilities, under extremely general preference-distributions. These results hold even when the distribution/dimension of unobserved heterogeneity are neither specified, nor identified and utilities are neither quasi-linear nor parametrically specified. Welfare-distributions can be expressed as closed-form functionals of observable individual choice-probabilities, thus enabling easy computation in applications. Average EV for price-rise equals the change in average consumer-surplus and is smaller than average CV for a normal good. Point-identification fails for ordered choice if the unit-price is identical for all alternatives, thereby providing a connection to Hausman-Newey's (2013) partial identification results for the limiting case of continuous choice.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12802/paper669.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 669.

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Date of creation: 23 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:669
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  1. Newey, W.K., 1991. "The Asymptotic Variance of Semiparametric Estimators," Working papers 583, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Debopam Bhattacharya & Pascaline Dupas & Shin Kanaya, 2013. "Estimating the Impact of Means-tested Subsidies under Treatment Externalities with Application to Anti-Malarial Bednets," CREATES Research Papers 2013-06, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  3. Lewbel, Arthur, 2000. "Semiparametric qualitative response model estimation with unknown heteroscedasticity or instrumental variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 145-177, July.
  4. Hausman, Jerry A & Newey, Whitney K, 1995. "Nonparametric Estimation of Exact Consumers Surplus and Deadweight Loss," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1445-76, November.
  5. Richard Blundell & Joel Horowitz & Matthias Parey, 2011. "Measuring the price responsiveness of gasoline demand: economic shape restrictions and nonparametric demand estimation," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/11, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
  7. Arthur Lewbel, 2012. "An Overview of the Special Regressor Method," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 810, Boston College Department of Economics.
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