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Intra-Household Allocation of Resources: Inferences from Non-resident Fathers’ Child Support Payments


  •  We are grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council for financial support and to Shelly Lundberg, Martin Browning, Helmut Rainer, Giedrius Blazys, participants in the Workshop on Interaction within the Family: Collective Approach and Bargaining Models, University of Turin (28–9 October 2005), seminar participants at the University of St. Andrews, participants in the Family Economics session at the Royal Economic Society 2007 Conference and to four referees for comments on earlier versions of the article.


A large proportion of divorced and separated fathers form new partnerships. The new partner's preferences are not likely to put much weight on expenditures on the man's children from his previous union. Thus, his own and his partner's income would have different impacts on his child support payments if partners’ relative incomes affect bargaining power in household decisions. This article exploits within-father variation in the British Household Panel Survey (1991–2005) to estimate the impacts of the intra-household income distribution on child support payments and the father's welfare. We find that a higher share of father's income in household income increases the probability of paying child support and its amount relative to household income.