Marital Matching, Economies of Scale, and Intrahousehold Allocations

Laurens Cherchye, Bram De Rock, Khushboo Surana, Frederic Vermeulen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a novel nonparametric method to empirically identify economies of scale in multiperson household consumption. We assume consumption technologies that define the public and private nature of expenditures through Barten scales. Our method (solely) exploits preference information revealed by a cross-section of household observations while accounting for fully unobserved preference heterogeneity. An application to data drawn from the US Panel Study of Income Dynamic shows that the method yields informative results on scale economies and intrahousehold allocation patterns. In addition, it allows us to define individual compensation schemes required to preserve the same consumption level in case of marriage dissolution or spousal death.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-837
Number of pages15
JournalReview of economics and statistics
Issue number4
Early online date5 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020

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