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Allocation of resources and decision-making within the household: implications on individual wellbeing measured through self-reporting health levels

14th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Public economics

Senior Researcher : María Teresa Blázquez Cuesta

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Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.


The main aim of the project is to analyse the role played by the family context in the relationship between the socio-economic status of the individual and his/her level of health. In order to achieve that aim, we will use the micro-data from the special module on the allocation of household resources and decision-making in the European Income and Living Conditions Survey.

This research is interesting for a number of reasons. First, an understanding of the different factors linking the socio-economic level of an individual and his/her health is particularly important for the design of the most appropriate policies aimed at improving the wellbeing of a society.

Secondly, it is important to note that the prevalence and duration of health problems represent a considerable burden on countries' health care systems. Therefore, a better understanding of the factors causing the greatest damage to people's health is required in order to reduce the costs not only for citizens but also for the economy as a whole.

Thirdly, the nature of the agreements within the household is key for the design of social programmes aimed at improving the wellbeing of its members. For example, in the hypothetical case of equitable sharing and distribution of income, policies do not need to be aimed at one or other member of a household. However, if the household's resources are not distributed equally among its members and there is disparity in the management of resources and control in decision-making, the impact of a given subsidy may differ depending on the member of the household receiving it.

Finally, it is important to analyse gender differences because, on the one hand, women generally show a greater risk of financial pressure and, on the other hand, they show a greater prevalence of mental health problems. This suggests the need to pay particular attention to gender differences when it comes to evaluating the extent to which the different systems for the allocation of resources and decision-making in the household may affect the health status of women differently from that of men.

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