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Tout est au mieux dans ce meilleur des ménages possibles The Pangloss critique of equivalence scales

A common approach to defining equivalence scales is to consider a household modelled as if it maximizes a single utility function. This may be founded on an assumption of the household maximizing a welfare function of individual utilities. For a positive analysis of the household, this may be appropriate, but it is argued that basing inter-household comparisons of welfare on this approach is generally not valid. The household will generally put different weight on the utility of the various household members, and this weighting does not necessarily correspond to society's aggregation of utility. This complication is called the Pangloss problem. An alternative definition of equivalence scales taking this into account is introduced and discussed.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 296.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:296
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  5. Bojer, H., 1998. "Equivalence Scales and Intra-Household Distribution," Memorandum 28/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
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  7. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alderman, Harold, et al, 1995. "Unitary versus Collective Models of the Household: Is It Time to Shift the Burden of Proof?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, February.
  9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Kanbur, Ravi, 1993. "Unitary versus collective models of the household : time to shift theburden of proof?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1217, The World Bank.
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  12. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Working Papers 94-6, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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  14. Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Bourguignon, F., 1999. "The Cost of Children: May the Collective Approach to Household Behavior Help?," DELTA Working Papers 1999-01, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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  19. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  20. Chipman, John S. & Moore, James C., 1979. "On social welfare functions and the aggregation of preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 111-139, August.
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