Health and Retirement Effects in a Collective Consumption Model of Elderly Households

Arthur Lewbel Shannon Seitz

WP#2011-4

Abstract

Using data on older individuals and couples, we estimate a collective model of household consumption of a variety of goods, showing how resources are shared between husbands and wives, and how this allocation is affected by retirement and health status. We identify the extent to which shared consumption of goods by older married couples reduces the costs of living together relative to living alone. We also identify the fraction of household resources consumed by wives versus husbands, taking the jointness of some consumption into account. The results are relevant for household bargaining models and for a variety of welfare calculations…