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Two can live as cheaply as one... But three's a crowd

  • Christopher R. Bollinger
  • Cheti Nicoletti
  • Stephen Pudney

To measure poverty, incomes must be equivalized across households with different structures. In this paper, we use a very flexible ordered response model to analyze the relationship between income, demographic structure and subjective assessments of financial wellbeing drawn from the 1991-2008 British Household Panel Survey. Our results suggest the existence of large scale economies within marital/cohabiting couples, but substantial diseconomies from the addition of children or further adults. This pattern contrasts sharply with commonly-used equivalence scales, and is consistent with explanations in terms of the capital requirements associated with additions to the core couple.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 12/23.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/23
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Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom

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Web page: http://www.york.ac.uk/economics/
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  9. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Stefanie Schurer, 2011. "The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  10. Charlier, Erwin, 2002. "Equivalence Scales in an Intertemporal Setting with an Application to the Former West Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(1), pages 99-126, March.
  11. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2001. "Identifying Welfare Effects from Subjective Questions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(271), pages 335-57, August.
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  14. Dickens, Richard & Fry, Vanessa & Pashardes, Panos, 1993. "Non-linearities and Equivalence Scales," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 359-68, March.
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  16. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, 2013. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1267-1303.
  17. Bargain, Olivier & Donni, Olivier, 2009. "The Measurement of Child Costs: A Rothbarth-Type Method Consistent with Scale Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 4654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  20. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
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