Inter- and Intra-Household Inequality

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Swissotel Chicago, Montreux 3
Hosted By: International Association for Feminist Economics
  • Chair: Lee Badgett, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Modern Families: Bargaining and Time Use in Same-Sex Households

Leanne Roncolato
,
Franklin and Marshall College
Mike Martell
,
Franklin and Marshall College

Abstract

We investigate the impact of bargaining power, as measured by relative income, on time use in household labor, care labor, leisure and paid labor in same-sex households and different-sex households. We find that, contrary to patterns among heterosexual men and women as well as the predictions of household bargaining models, there is a concave relationship between time spent in household labor and relative earnings for lesbians and for gay men with children. We also find that time spent in leisure among lesbians is twice as responsive to changes in relative earnings than time spent in leisure among heterosexual women. While these findings are inconsistent with household bargaining models, they are consistent with the impact of gender and identity motivated behavior on economic outcomes. While economic outcomes have been previously argued to be determined by the fulfillment of a feminine identity, our results suggest that time use patterns of women in different sex households are most consistent with the fulfillment of masculinity for their male partners. Our work highlights the need as well as provides direction for the development of more complete models of the household.

How Serious is the Neglect of Intra-Household Inequality in Multi-Dimensional Poverty Indices?

Rahul Lahoti
,
University of Goettingen
Stephan Klasen
,
University of Goettingen

Abstract

Income-based as well as most existing multidimensional poverty indices (MPI) assume equal distribution within the household and thus are likely to lead to yield a biased assessment of individual poverty, and poverty by age or gender.  In this paper we first present a theoretical framework showing that the direction of the bias depends on how these measures use individual data to determine the poverty status of households, while the impact of these assumptions on inequality between individual cannot be determined a priori.  We then use data from the 2012 Indian Human Development Survey to create a standard household-based MPIs closely related to the MPI proposed by Alkire and Santos (2014) as well as UNDP (2014), and compare that to an individual level MPI that individualizes education and nutrition and some aspects of the living standards dimensions.   We find that the poverty rate of females is 14 percentage points higher than that of men in our individual MPI measure but only 2 percentage points higher when using the household-based measure. Similarly, the age differentials in poverty are much larger using the individual-based measure. Using a decomposable inequality measure, we find the contribution of intra-household inequality to the total inequality in the individual deprivation score to be 30% and total inequality is also some 30% higher using the individual-based measure, while inequality among the poor is found to be 5% smaller using the individual measure.

Non-Marital Fertility and the Expansion of Women's Economic Rights

Shoshana Grossbard
,
San Diego State University
R. Richard Geddes
,
Cornell University
Hazem Alshaikhmubarak
,
San Diego State University

Abstract

Under coverture a married woman in the USA relinquished property and wages to her husband.  Many U.S. states passed acts between 1850 and 1920 that expanded married women’s rights to their market earnings, to form legally binding contracts, and to own separate property. Those acts were called the married women’s property acts (MWPAs) and the married women’s earnings acts (MWEAs). The previous literature has examined how these acts affected outcomes such as women's wealth-holding and educational achievements, but the acts' impact on women’s non-marital versus within-marriage birth decisions remains unstudied. // If as a result of these acts women perceived greater benefits from having children within marriage rather than outside marriage, then passage of MWPAs and MWEAs will reduce non-marital births relative to marital births. We marshal data from the US Census for the years 1850 to 1920 to address this question. For part of this period we have to infer non-marital births as marital status is not available.  Preliminary results based on Probit and OLS estimations while including a variety of controls indicate that the property acts reduced the ratio of non-marital to marital births, as we predict. This is consistent with prior literature finding that the acts affected important choices within the family.

Does A Higher Women’s Intrahousehold Bargaining Power Trigger Clean Fuel Adoption: Evidence From Senegal

Soazic Elise Wang Sonne
,
United Nations University

Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 76% of the population in rural areas uses firewood as fuels for cooking and heating, generating a great amount of pollution through the release of black carbon and CO2. Fuel switching models to understand the high dependency of Sub Saharan African households on traditional fuels have been blind beneath and above the household level, undermining the role played by intrahousehold bargaining and the household’s embeddedness in its external environment (informal institutions). As a result, there is still a lack of understanding of the region’s high dependency on solid fuels. Using two barely used statistical approach, namely a Latent Trait Model and a Simultaneous Equation Model on Demographic and Heath Survey (DHS) data from Senegal, this paper suggests that intrahousehold bargaining and informal institutions matter in the adoption and the transition from traditional to clean fuels. We found in line with the literature that while some socio-economic characteristics matter in the adoption of clean fuel (age, household size, land and house ownership, wealth, earnings, religion, region, type of residence, education); woman’s intrahousehold bargaining power(measured using a Latent Trait Model) and clean fuel uptake also simultaneously interact. In fact, while an increase of woman’s intrahousehold bargaining power higher clean fuel adoption, households using a clean fuel are the ones with woman having a high level of bargaining power. Therefore, policies to enhance clean fuel uptake should focus on enhancing women’s empowerment. Reversely, improving women’s intrahousehold bargaining power could be done by scaling up programs to foster clean fuel uptake.

Family Finances: Intra-Household Bargaining and Capital Structure

Arna Olafsson
,
Copenhagen Business School
Michaela Pagel
,
Columbia University

Abstract

This paper aims to test recent influential theories proposing that differences in preferences of household members lead to agency problems reflected in overspending, indebtedness, and financial fee expenses at the household level. To do so, we use comprehensive transaction-level data from individuals within households. Observing individuals within households gives us a unique opportunity to empirically examine how individual revealed preferences over discretionary spending and debt holdings affect spending and indebtedness at the household level. To deal with endogeneity, we use a fixed effects and instrumental variable approach, which helps us tackle both self-selection and common-shocks issues. We document that the share of household income received by the spender (or debt-inclined) spouse causally increases discretionary spending (or household debt), controlling for total household income. Moreover, we estimate individual marginal propensities to consume and link the within-household differences to debt and fee expenses at the household level. Our results are consistent with individuals having different preferences over spending and using expensive debt and exerting their preferences with the bargaining power that income gives them.
Discussant(s)
Lee Badgett
,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Sara Cantillon
,
Glasgow Caledonian University
JEL Classifications
  • B5 - Current Heterodox Approaches
  • D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics