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Equivalence Scales Declining with Expenditure: Evidence and Implications for Income Distribution

  • Fabrizio Balli

    ()

  • Silvia Tiezzi

    ()

We estimate expenditure dependent equivalence scales for Italian couples with and without children. Following Donaldson and Pendakur (2006) we incorporate the generalized absolute equivalence-scale exactness (GAESE) restrictions into a translated quadratic almost ideal (TQAI) demand system. We obtain declining with expenditure scales, a pattern that tends to strengthen when the number of children increases. This implies that scale economies in current consumption are lower for families with poor expenditure capacities. We also show that families living in the South and the Islands suffer a substantial additional cost to achieve, ceteris paribus, the same well-being of those living in the North. Finally, we find that ignoring the declining with expenditure pattern results in a relevant understatement of measured inequality.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 611.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:611
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  1. Lewbel, Arthur, 2003. "Calculating compensation in cases of wrongful death," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 115-128, March.
  2. Donaldson, David & Pendakur, Krishna, 2006. "The Identification of Fixed Costs From Consumer Behavior," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 255-265, July.
  3. Koulovatianos, Christos & Schroder, Carsten & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2005. "On the income dependence of equivalence scales," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 967-996, June.
  4. Donaldson, David & Pendakur, Krishna, 2004. "Equivalent-expenditure functions and expenditure-dependent equivalence scales," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 175-208, January.
  5. Arthur Lewbel, 2000. "A Rational Rank Four Demand System," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 463, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 04 Apr 2003.
  6. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  7. Federico Perali & Martina Menon, 2009. "Econometric Identification of the Cost of Maintaining a Child," Working Papers 63/2009, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  8. Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
  9. Fabrizio Balli & Silvia Tiezzi, 2010. "Equivalence scales, the cost of children and household consumption patterns in Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 527-549, December.
  10. Christos Koulovatianos & Carsten Schröder & Ulrich Schmidt, 2005. "Properties of Equivalence Scales in Different Countries," Vienna Economics Papers 0503, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  11. J. Scott Shonkwiler & Steven T. Yen, 1999. "Two-Step Estimation of a Censored System of Equations," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 972-982.
  12. Douglas W. Allen, 2007. "The Effect on Divorce of Legislated Net-Wealth Transfers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 580-597, October.
  13. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
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