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Consumption Inequality and Intra-Household Allocations

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1019
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  1. 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 116-138, June.
  2. 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 259-283, June.
  3. 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 1067-1096, December.
  4. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality and Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640.
  5. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," NBER Working Papers 7508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Olivier Donni, 2007. "Collective female labour supply: theory and application," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 94-119, 01.
  7. Martin Browning & Pierre-Andrée Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, 2004. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 588, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Sep 2010.
  8. Martin Browning & P.A. Chiappori, 1996. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations - A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Discussion Papers 96-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Blundell, Richard William & Chiappori, Pierre-André & Magnac, Thierry & Meghir, Costas, 2005. "Collective Labour Supply: Heterogeneity and Non-Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5287, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Jay H. Hong & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2004. "Life insurance and household consumption," Working Papers 04-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. Frederic Vermeulen, 2000. "Collective household models: principles and main results," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces0028, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  13. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. Thomas F. Crossley & Krishna Pendakur, 2002. "Consumption Inequality," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-09, McMaster University.
  15. Haddad, Lawrence & Kanbur, Ravi, 1989. "How serious is the neglect of intrahousehold inequality ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 296, The World Bank.
  16. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
  17. Kanbur, Ravi & Haddad, Lawrence, 1994. "Are Better Off Households More Unequal or Less Unequal?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(3), pages 445-458, July.
  18. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
  19. Shannon N. Seitz, 2002. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Working Papers 1009, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2.
  23. Pierre-André Chiappori & Richard Blundell & Costas Meghir, 2002. "Collective labour supply with children," IFS Working Papers W02/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  24. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, October.
  25. Erich Battistin, 2002. "Errors in Survey Reports of Consumption Expenditures," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C4-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  26. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
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