Pierre Dubois, and Ethan Ligon, Nutrition and Risk Sharing within the Household, TSE Working Paper, n. 09-108, November 2009.


Using data on individual consumption from farm households in the Philippines, we construct a direct test of risk-sharing within the household. We contrast the efficient outcomes predicted by the unitary household model with the outcomes we might expect if food consumption delivers not only utils, but also nutrients affecting future productivity. The efficiency conditions which characterize the within household allocation of food under the unitary model are violated, as consumption responds to earnings shocks. If productivity depends on nutrition, this explains some but not all of the response, as earnings “surprises” have some effect on the cost and composition of diet.