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Consumption Inequality and Intra-Household Allocations

  • Jeremy Lise

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Queen's University)

  • Shannon Seitz

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Queen\'s University)

The current literature on consumption inequality treats all adults within the household equally, making the implicit assumption that all consumption inequality is between, not within, households. However, increased marital sorting on earnings and the subsequent rise in the share of women's income in the household may have important implications for consumption inequality measured at the individual level. We use an extension of the collective framework of Chiappori to estimate a rule for assigning resources to individual household members. We then construct a measure of individual level inequality by looking at implied changes in intra-household allocations and explore the implications of our framework for the measurement of individual level, versus household level, consumption inequality. Our analysis, which is based on households comprising one or two adults, suggests that the conventional approach of ignoring intra-household allocations underestimates the level of cross-sectional consumption inequality by 30% and overstates the trend by two-thirds. Our findings also indicate that increases in marital sorting on wages and hours worked can simultaneously explain virtually all of the decline in within household inequality and a substantial fraction of the rise in between household inequality in the UK since the 1970s.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1019.pdf
File Function: First version 2004
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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1019.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1019
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  1. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, . "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," CAM Working Papers 2003-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics, revised Dec 2003.
  2. Thomas F. Crossley & Krishna Pendakur, 2002. "Consumption Inequality," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, McMaster University.
  3. Olivier Donni, 2001. "Collective Female Labor Supply: Theory and Application," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 141, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  4. Krueger, Dirk & Perri, Fabrizio, 2005. "Does income inequality lead to consumption inequality? Evidence and theory," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  5. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-16, CIRANO.
  6. Richard Blundell & Pierre-Andr� Chiappori & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Collective Labor Supply with Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1277-1306, December.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Chiappori, Pierre-André & Magnac, Thierry & Meghir, Costas, 2005. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Nonparticipation," IDEI Working Papers 373, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  8. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Shannon N. Seitz, 2002. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Working Papers 1009, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Barrett, Garry F & Crossley, Thomas F & Worswick, Christopher, 2000. "Consumption and Income Inequality in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(233), pages 116-38, June.
  11. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi, 1990. "Are better off households more unequal or less unequal ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 373, The World Bank.
  12. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. " Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-64, September.
  13. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2.
  14. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  15. Haddad, L. & Kanbur, R., 1989. "How Serious Is The Neglectof Intra-Household Inequality?," Papers 450, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  16. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  17. Erich Battistin, 2003. "Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W03/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  18. Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  21. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  22. Pendakur, Krishna, 1998. "Changes in Canadian Family Income and Family Consumption Inequality between 1978 and 1992," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(2), pages 259-83, June.
  23. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762.
  24. Jay H. Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2004. "Life insurance and household consumption," Working Papers 04-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  25. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-85, November.
  26. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
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