IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wbk/wbrwps/6298.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the fungibility of spending and earnings -- evidence from rural China and Tanzania

Author

Listed:
  • Christiaensen , Luc
  • Pan, Lei

Abstract

A common behavioral assumption of micro-economic theory is that income is fungible. Using household panel data from rural China and Tanzania, this study finds however that people are more likely to spend unearned income on less basic consumption goods such as alcohol and tobacco, non-staple food, transportation and communication, and clothing, while they are somewhat more likely to spend earned income on basic consumption goods such as staple food, and invest it in education. This resonates with the widespread cultural notion that money that is easily earned is also more easily spent. Cognitively, the results could be understood within the context of emotional accounting, whereby people classify income based on the emotions it evokes, prompting them to spend hard earned money more wisely to mitigate the negative connotations associated with its acquisition. The policy implications are real, bearing for example on the choice between employment guarantee schemes and cash transfers in designing social security programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Christiaensen , Luc & Pan, Lei, 2012. "On the fungibility of spending and earnings -- evidence from rural China and Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6298, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6298
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2012/12/27/000158349_20121227220426/Rendered/PDF/wps6298.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
    2. Milkman, Katherine L. & Beshears, John, 2009. "Mental accounting and small windfalls: Evidence from an online grocer," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 384-394, August.
    3. Davies, Simon & Easaw, Joshy & Ghoshray, Atanu, 2009. "Mental accounting and remittances: A study of rural Malawian households," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 321-334, June.
    4. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    5. Duncan Thomas, 1990. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 635-664.
    6. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters,in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:adr:anecst:y:1993:i:29:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:adr:anecst:y:1993:i:29 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Epley, Nicholas & Gneezy, Ayelet, 2007. "The framing of financial windfalls and implications for public policy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 36-47, February.
    10. List, John A., 2009. "An introduction to field experiments in economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 439-442, June.
    11. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    12. Pan, Lei & Christiaensen, Luc, 2012. "Who is Vouching for the Input Voucher? Decentralized Targeting and Elite Capture in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1619-1633.
    13. Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-643, October.
    14. Arkes, Hal R. & Joyner, Cynthia A. & Pezzo, Mark V. & Nash, Jane Gradwohl & Siegel-Jacobs, Karen & Stone, Eric, 1994. "The Psychology of Windfall Gains," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 331-347, September.
    15. Seth R. Gitter & Bradford L. Barham, 2008. "Women's Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, and Schooling in Nicaragua," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 271-290, May.
    16. Alderman, Harold, 1996. "Saving and economic shocks in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 343-365, December.
    17. repec:feb:artefa:0089 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
    19. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1998. "The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(1), pages 4-28.
    20. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582, April.
    21. Benjamin Senauer & Marito Garcia & Elizabeth Jacinto, 1988. "Determinants of the Intrahousehold Allocation of Food in the Rural Philippines," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 70(1), pages 170-180.
    22. Bhalla, Surjit S, 1980. "The Measurement of Permanent Income and Its Application to Savings Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 722-744, August.
    23. Esther Duflo & Christopher Udry, 2003. "Intrahousehold Resource Allocation in Côte D'ivoire: Social Norms, Separate Accounts and Consumption Choices," Working Papers 857, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    24. Henderson, Pamela W. & Peterson, Robert A., 1992. "Mental accounting and categorization," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 92-117, February.
    25. Hirst, D. Eric & Joyce, Edward J. & Schadewald, Michael S., 1994. "Mental Accounting and Outcome Contiguity in Consumer-Borrowing Decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 136-152, April.
    26. Duncan Thomas, 1993. "The Distribution of Income and Expenditure within the Household," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 29, pages 109-135.
    27. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
    28. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
    29. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
    30. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
    31. John List, 2009. "Introduction to field experiments in economics," Artefactual Field Experiments 00087, The Field Experiments Website.
    32. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    33. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    34. Hsieh, Chang-Tai & Shimizutani, Satoshi & Hori, Masahiro, 2010. "Did Japan's shopping coupon program increase spending?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 523-529, August.
    35. Peter Kooreman, 2000. "The Labeling Effect of a Child Benefit System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 571-583, June.
    36. Luc Christiaensen & Lei Pan, 2010. "Transfers and Development: Easy Come, Easy Go?," WIDER Working Paper Series 125, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    37. Kira M. Villa & Christopher B. Barrett & David R. Just, 2011. "Differential Nutritional Responses across Various Income Sources Among East African Pastoralists: Intrahousehold Effects, Missing Markets and Mental Accounting," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 20(2), pages 341-375, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:133-140 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alem, Yonas & Köhlin, Gunnar & Stage, Jesper, 2014. "The Persistence of Subjective Poverty in Urban Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 51-61.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Theory&Research; Rural Poverty Reduction; Inequality; Labor Policies; Fiscal&Monetary Policy;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6298. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/dvewbus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.