Income, gender and consumption: A study of Malawian households
This paper uses 1998 household level data from urban Malawi to look at the impact on consumption patterns of the share of total household income accruing to different individuals within the household. Specifically, male and female income shares and other factors which may influence intra-household bargaining such as education are analysed. The study finds that for some categories of good such as personal and household hygiene and clothing, unitary household models are unsuitable as intra-household relationships and differing preferences of individuals play a key role in consumption choices. Overall the results indicate that females favour household hygiene, vehicle repair and girls’ clothing while males favour male clothing. Consumption choices are influenced by both the income and education of the main male and female members, and crucially, the impact of income shares on household consumption is non-linear.
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