Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Mazumder, Amita (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

In this dissertation we have attempted to measure the cost of children, which plays a crucial role in matters relating to welfare and public policy like child benefits and compensation policies of the government. The cost is measured based on the single equation as well as the systems approach using the 38th round National Sample Survey (NSS) data on household consumer expenditure for rural Maharashtra (relating to the period of January to December, 1983).The first chapter provides a brief account of the basic literature on empirical demand analysis which is relevant for welfare comparison between households. To be specific in this chapter we discuss parametric and non-parametric engel curves, the systems approach to Demand Analysis, incorporation of demographic variables into demand systems and finally different approaches to measurement of cost of children.Chapter 2 describes the sample design and survey coverage of the NSS data and presents the definitions and concepts adopted in the 38th NSS inquiry. Regional information on the state of Maharashtra is also provided in this chapter.Chapter 3 attempts to identify adult goods for the given consumer expenditure data using the concept of outlay equivalent ratio of Deaton, Castillo and Thomas (1989). Here we suggest a modification of their procedure. Based on the commonly used Working-Leser form of engel curves and using the modified procedure, we identify six items, viz., tea-coffee, pan, tobacco, intoxicants, adult cloth and adult personal care as adult goods. It is also found that a combination of all these goods as well as the one excluding adult personal care can be treated as a composite adult good. In the subsequent chapters we treat the latter combination as a single commodity and call it adult good.To determine the shapers of the engel curves for some selected items, viz, ceralsals, other food, clothing, fuel and light and adult good in chapter 4 we use the nonparametric Kernel regression method which allows consistent estimation of a re- gression model without specifying its functional form in advance. To place emphasis on the sensitivity of the shape of the engel curves to household characteristics, we divide the overall sample into homogeneous subsamples in terms of demographic compositions, occupational groups and social classes. We compare the empirical performance of the nonparametric curve with those of the Working-Leser(WL) and the Quadratic Logarithmic(QL) forms. The performances of the QL and WL forms turn out to be very close to the nonparametric one. However, a closer look suggests that the QL form gives a 힊tatistically better fit than the WL form. From this anal- ysis it turns out that cereals, fuel and light and adult good are necessary items. It is also observed that given total consumer expenditure, as the number of children increases, the budget share for cereals increases and that for adult good decreases.Chapter 5 measures the relative cost of children using the single-equation approach by applying Engel and Rothbarth methods. For the Engel measure the WL and QL forms of budget share curves and for the Rothbarth measure log linear and log quadratic forms of expenditure curves are used.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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