English, Article, Journal or magazine article edition: Consumption Inequality and Intra-Household Allocations Jeremy Lise; Shannon Seitz

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Physical Description
  • preprint
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • Consumption Inequality and Intra-Household Allocations
Author
  • Jeremy Lise
  • Shannon Seitz
Physical Description
  • preprint
Notes
  • RePEc:red:sed005:448
  • The consumption literature uses adult equivalence scales to measure individual level inequality. This practice imposes the assumption that there is no within household inequality. In this paper, we show that ignoring consumption inequality within households produces misleading estimates of inequality along two dimensions. First, the use of adult equivalence scales underestimates the level of cross sectional consumption inequality by 30 percent, as large differences in the earnings of husbands and wives translate into large differences in consumption allocations within households. Second, the rise in inequality since the 1970s is overstated by almost two-thirds: within household inequality declined over time as the share of income provided by wives increased. Our findings also indicate that increases in marital sorting on wages and hours worked can simultaneously explain virtually all of the decline in within household inequality and a substantial fraction of the rise in between household inequality for one and two adult households in the UK since the 1970s.
  • RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:07/​09
  • The current literature on consumption inequality treats all adults within the household equally, making the implicit assumption that all consumption inequality is between, not within, households. However, increased marital sorting on earnings and the subsequent rise in the share of women's income in the household may have important implications for consumption inequality measured at the individual level. We use an extension of the collective framework of Chiappori to estimate a rule for assigning resources to individual household members. We then construct a measure of individual level inequality by looking at implied changes in intra-household allocations and explore the implications of our framework for the measurement of individual level, versus household level, consumption inequality. Our analysis, which is based on households comprising one or two adults, suggests that the conventional approach of ignoring intra-household allocations underestimates the level of cross-sectional consumption inequality by 30% and overstates the trend by two-thirds. Our findings also indicate that increases in marital sorting on wages and hours worked can simultaneously explain virtually all of the decline in within household inequality and a substantial fraction of the rise in between household inequality in the UK since the 1970s.
  • RePEc:qed:wpaper:1019
  • The consumption literature uses adult equivalence scales to measure individual level inequality. This practice imposes the assumption that there is no within household inequality. In this paper, we show that ignoring consumption inequality within households produces misleading estimates of inequality along two dimensions. First, the use of adult equivalence scales underestimates the level of cross sectional consumption inequality by 30%. This result is driven by the fact that large differences in the earnings of husbands and wives translate into large differences in consumption allocations within households. Second, the rise in inequality since the 1970s is overstated by two-thirds: within house-hold inequality declined over time as the share of income provided by wives increased. Our findings also indicate that increases in marital sorting on wages and hours worked can simultaneously explain virtually all of the decline in within household inequality and a substantial fraction of the rise in between household inequality for one and two adult households in the UK since the 1970s.
  • Collective Model, Consumption Inequality, Marital Sorting, Adult Equivalence Scales
  • RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0504001
Language
  • English
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