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The Distribution of Consumption-Expenditure Budget Shares. Evidence from Italian Households

  • Matteo Barigozzi
  • Lucia Alessi
  • Marco Capasso
  • Giorgio Fagiolo

This paper explores the statistical properties of household consumption-expenditure budget shares distributions (HBSDs) ---defined as the share of household total expenditure spent for purchasing a specific category of commodities--- for a large sample of Italian households in the period 1989-2004. We find that HBSDs are fairly stable over time for each specific category, but profoundly heterogeneous across commodity categories. We then derive a parametric density that is able to satisfactorily characterize HBSDs and: (i) is consistent with the observed statistical properties of the underlying levels of household consumption-expenditure distributions; (ii) can accommodate the observed across-category heterogeneity in HBSDs. Finally, we taxonomize commodity categories according to the estimated parameters of the proposed density. We show that the resulting classification is consistent with the traditional economic scheme that labels commodities as necessary, luxury or inferior.

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2008/18.

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Date of creation: 20 Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2008/18
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  1. Blundell, Richard, 1988. "Consumer Behaviour: Theory and Empirical Evidence--a Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 16-65, March.
  2. Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Marco Capasso, 2010. "On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures: the case of Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 717-741, June.
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  15. Andreas Chai & Alessio Moneta, 2009. "Satiation, Escaping Satiation, and Structural Change: Some Evidence from the Evolution of Engel Curves," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-18, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  16. Brandolini, A., 1999. "The Distribution of Personal Income in Post-War Italy: Source Description, Date Quality, and the Time Pattern of Income Inequality," Papers 350, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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