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Demographic factors and the pattern of household expenditures in the United States

Summary and Conclusions

This study takes as its starting point the hypothesis that demographic characteristics of households are as relevant determinants of the pattern of consumer expenditures in the United States as are measured prices and incomes. Demographic characteristics of households are brought to bear upon their expenditure patterns not via their impact on consumer tastes but rather via their effect on “true” prices and “permanent” incomes faced by households.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' 1972/73 Consumer Expenditure Survey data are used to estimate several expenditure functions. The econometric results unequivocally demonstrate the validity of the authors' hypothesis. Various demographic factors such as the age of the household head, his/her educational attainment, the employment status of the household head and spouse, the household's race and region of location are all found to be significant determinants of the pattern of expenditures in the United States.

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An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1979 Annual Meeting of the Atlantic Economic Society, October 10–12, 1979, Washington, D.C. The authors would like to thank Mr. Lee Grimes of the Computer Center at Tennessee Tech for many hours of patient help.

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Ketkar, S.L., Cho, W. Demographic factors and the pattern of household expenditures in the United States. Atlantic Economic Journal 10, 16–27 (1982).

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  • Demographic Characteristic
  • Labor Statistics
  • Educational Attainment
  • Employment Status
  • International Economic