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Intrahousehold Economies of Scale with Application to Food Assistance and Work Incentive Programs

Wenying Li () and Jeffrey H. Dorfman

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2021, vol. 103, issue 4, 1251-1267

Abstract: Comparing income levels across families with different household compositions and sizes is not easy and has been a long‐term focus in welfare and policy analysis. This paper evaluates the extent childless two‐person households in the U.S. reduce their costs by living together relative to living alone. Using a structural collective household model and household scanner data, we find women, on average, consume 48% of total household expenditures, and a woman (man) living alone would need approximately 65% (63%) of the two‐person household's income to reach the same living standard as attained as a member of a two‐person household. Our results suggest the poverty line for two‐person childless households may need to be increased, whereas other federal benefit calculations are overly generous.

Date: 2021
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https://doi.org/10.1111/ajae.12187

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