Economic decision-making by cohabitors: findings regarding income pooling
Cohabitation rates are increasing in the US but little is known about how cohabitors make economic decisions. For instance, do female cohabitors treat their male partner's income as shared household income when choosing hours worked? Does income sharing differ among types of cohabitors? This study investigates whether or not cohabitors pool income by drawing inferences from a generalized model of labour supply. The empirical work uses data from the 1993 Current Population Survey and the 1987 National Survey of Families and Households. These data sets provide evidence that cohabitors, taken as a group, do not pool all income. However, there is also evidence that cohabitors are not homogeneous in their behaviour; income pooling is not rejected for cohabitors in longer-term relationships and for those who have a biological child together.