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The sectoral labor supply of married couples in Brazil: Testing the unitary model of household behavior

Abstract.

An assumption of the unitary model of household decision-making is that household members maximize one household utility function. This assumption implies that households pool their income and, therefore, the ownership of nonwage income has no effect on household demand. In this paper, this implication is tested by estimating multi-sector labor supply equations for men and women in Brazil. The results indicate that the unitary model is rejected in the informal and self-employment sectors for men and the formal and informal sectors for women; in these cases own nonwage income has a significantly negative effect on labor supply while spousal nonwage income has no significant effect.

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Received: 29 December 1997/Accepted: 9 December 1998

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Tiefenthaler, J. The sectoral labor supply of married couples in Brazil: Testing the unitary model of household behavior. J Popul Econ 12, 591–606 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050115

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s001480050115

  • JEL classification: D1
  • J2
  • Key words: Brazil
  • labor supply
  • household bargaining