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Bidrag till familjens ekonomiska historia: Inflytande över konsumtionen inom svenska hushåll under 1900-talet
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with consumption in Swedish households between 1913 and 2001. More specifically, it asks whose resources matter most in determining consumption patterns. As a second question, the dissertation also attempts to establish whether the fact that simple covariance between a spouse’s background variables implies that the spouse has any influence at all over the household’s consumption decisions.

The theoretical background is mostly drawn from literature regarding intra-household allocations: on the one hand cooperative game theory and on the other hand sociological theory. Cooperative game theory establishes influence, say or power within the household as a function of the marriage’s or cohabitation’s alternative cost, i.e., the difference between the utility level for a married or cohabiting person as opposed to a single person. Sociological theory considers the contribution one makes to the total level of utility in the household, whether in the form of monetary income, household work or as something else. This is in part conceptualized as a difference between exit and voice.

The dissertation’s statistical analysis uses three surveys of household expenditure conducted in 1913, 1952 and 1999-2001. They give us an excellent picture of what they actually purchased during that year. The sample sizes are 552, 596 and 3,501, respectively.

The dissertation’s main result is that human capital is a previously underestimated determinant of influence in consumption decisions. As the female stock of human capital increases, so does her influence over the household’s consumption decisions.

In an attempt to determine the level of democracy within households, the dissertation uses a complementary data source: a questionnaire called “The Swedish People 1955”. Here, one of the questions directed to females was whether they checked with their husbands before deciding on a purchase, as a measure of intra-household democracy. This was then regressed upon the female share of total income, ideological position and two forms of human capital, one general and one for household work. Both forms of human capital lead to democratic households, which is taken to mean that human capital is important not only because it increases labor opportunities in the event of divorce (exit) but also because it increases female voice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2005. , 209 p.
Stockholm Studies in Economic History, ISSN 0346-8305 ; 44
Keyword [en]
intrahousehold allocation, history of consumption, Sweden, 20th century, economics of gender, family economics, cooperative game theory, household money management, exit, voice, household expenditure surveys
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-688ISBN: 91-85445-13-4OAI: diva2:197261
Public defence
2005-10-28, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-10-05 Created: 2005-10-05 Last updated: 2012-07-05Bibliographically approved

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