IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Nonparametric Analysis of Household Labour Supply: Goodness-of-Fit and Power of the Unitary and the Collective Model

  • Laurens Cherchye


  • Frederic Vermeulen


We compare the empirical performance of the unitary and the collective approach to modelling observed labour supply behaviour. Deviating from the mainstream literature, we conduct a nonparametric analysis, which avoids the distortive impact of an erroneously specified functional form for the preferences and/or the intrahousehold bargaining process. Our analysis specifically focuses on the goodness-of-fit of the two behavioural models. To guarantee a fair comparison, we complement this goodness-of-fit analysis with a power analysis. Our results strongly favour the collective approach to modelling the behaviour of multi-person households. More generally, they illustrate the usefulness of nonparametric testing tools for the empirical evaluation of theoretical behavioural models.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics in its series Public Economics Working Paper Series with number ces0302.

in new window

Length: 19 pp.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpe:papers:ces0302
Contact details of provider: Postal: Naamsestraat 69, 3000 Leuven
Phone: +32-(0)16-32 67 25
Fax: +32-(0)16-32 67 96
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2007. "The collective model of household consumption : A nonparametric characterization," Other publications TiSEM 0a104373-4fb6-4ef2-9d2b-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," Cahiers de recherche 0103, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  3. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
  4. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 1997. "A Test of the Unitary and Collective Models of Household Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 933-55, July.
  5. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  6. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  7. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Chiappori, P.A., 1989. "Collective Labour Supply and Welfare," DELTA Working Papers 89-07, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Theodore W. Schultz, 1962. "Reflections on Investment in Man," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1.
  10. Varian, Hal R., 1990. "Goodness-of-fit in optimizing models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 125-140.
  11. Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2005. "And the winner is..... An empirical evaluation of unitary and collective labour supply models," Other publications TiSEM 0cf7929c-7f30-48c8-8d5b-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  12. Hal R. Varian, 1994. "Goodness-of-Fit for Revealed Preference Tests," Econometrics 9401001, EconWPA.
  13. Susan K. Snyder, 2000. "Nonparametric Testable Restrictions of Household Behavior," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 171-185, July.
  14. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  15. Afriat, S N, 1973. "On a System of Inequalities in Demand Analysis: An Extension of the Classical Method," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 460-72, June.
  16. Famulari, Melissa, 1995. "A Household-Based, Nonparametric Test of Demand Theory," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 372-82, May.
  17. Cox, James C, 1997. "On Testing the Utility Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1054-78, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpe:papers:ces0302. 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: (Kristof Bosmans)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.