American Economic Review : 2013.

Dr. Arthur Lewbel, Economics Department

The share of household resources devoted to children is hard to identify because consumption is measured at the household level and goods can be shared. Using semiparametric restrictions on individual preferences within a collective model, we identify how total household resources are divided up among household members by observing how each family member's expenditures on a single private good like clothing vary with income and family size. Using data from Malawi we show how resources devoted to wives and children vary by family size and structure, and we find that standard poverty indices understate the incidence of child poverty.

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