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Faculty of Economics

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Horrell, S. and Oxley, D.

Bargaining for basics? Inferring decision making in nineteenth-century British households from expenditure, diet, stature and death

European Review of Economic History

Vol. 17(2) pp. 147-170 (2013)

Abstract: Did the male breadwinner get more household resources, and if so, why? A dearth of direct information on intra-household processes makes it hard to answer. Instead reliance has to be placed on indirect evidence. Here, we investigate these processes more rigorously. We start by outlining theoretical models of household decision making (unitary, a particular variant of this, the impoverished unitary, and bargaining) and identify how gender bias in various outcomes might manifest itself under each of these scenarios. We then review a range of empirical results to ascertain if they indicate gender bias and how they accord with these alternative scenarios. In particular, we reconsider our own results which identified gender bias through econometric analysis of expenditure data, analyse household nutrition, refer to recent work which has indicated a differential impact of regional dietary patterns on the heights of men and women, report our findings on male and female body mass over the life

JEL Codes: N

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