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

Horrell, Sara and Oxley, Deborah (2013) Bargaining for basics? Inferring decision making in nineteenth-century British households from expenditure, diet, stature, and death. European Review of Economic History, 17 (2). 147 - 170. ISSN 1361-4916

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ereh/het003

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 cycle, and review the literature on differential mortality. These results indicate that household decision making may have resulted from bargaining and, while remunerated work played a role in determining the bargaining positions of men and women, the story was often more complex. Other factors, which affected relative worth, emerge as important.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/ereh
Additional Information: © 2013 European Historical Economics Society
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 13:36
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2019 13:36
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/102600

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