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Household behaviour and intrahousehold resource allocation: an empirical analysis

Rahman, A.; (2012) Household behaviour and intrahousehold resource allocation: an empirical analysis. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis analyses intrahousehold resource allocation issues related to nutrition and food distribution, nutrient demand, and child health and nutrition outcomes in rural Bangladesh using relevant microeconometric methods and their application to household surveys. Using a measure of bargaining power — spouses’ assets at marriage — that is culturally relevant and (weakly) exogenous to household decision making process, I find strong evidence of intrahousehold bargaining on nutrient allocation and on distribution of food from relatively expensive sources. In this regard, a wife’s bargaining power positively affect the allocation of the adult females at the expense of that of adult males. The bargaining effects are significant even after controlling for unobserved household characteristics and potential health-nutrition-labour market linkages. Spouses’ preference and bargaining also tend to vary at different income levels. At the low income level, a wife prefers preschooler boys to preschoolers girls while the preschooler girls to preschooler boys at the middle income level in intrahousehold food distribution. Son-preference in intrahousehold food distribution is also guided by cultural norms and appears to be prominent in non-poor households as opposed to poor households in Bangladesh. Using a characteristic demand framework, I also find that individuals’ intakes of calorie, macronutrients, and a set of micronutrients are inelastic to implicit calorie price while the own and cross implicit price elasticities for a range of critical micronutrients are highly elastic to implicit micronutrient prices. Calorie intake appears to be highly inelastic for both poor and non-poor while both the macro and micronutrient intakes of the poor compared to that of the non-poor are more responsive to implicit macro and micronutrient prices. Finally, analysing the effect of household structure on child outcomes, I find that child education, but not health outcomes, to be substantially better in nuclear families than in extended families. These findings have important implications in terms of malnutrition, food policy, and human capital formation in a poor rural economy.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Household behaviour and intrahousehold resource allocation: an empirical analysis
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Economics

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