Consumption Economies of Scale, Household Headship and Poverty: Evidence from Sri Lanka

Maneka Jayasinghe, Christine Smith, Andreas Chai, Shyama Ratnasiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


The idea that female and female-headed households disproportionately represent the poor, and that they experience a higher incidence of poverty than male and male-headed households, has been discussed widely in the literature on gender and poverty, particularly in the context of developing countries. Nevertheless, important questions remain unexplored. For example, how does the gender of the headship affect household ability to reap the benefits of consumption economies of scale (CSE)? And how do these differences in CSE, based on the gender of the household head, change the poverty status in male headed and female-headed households? This study, using Household Income and Expenditure survey 2009/10 data/or Sri Lanka, attempts to uncover the differences in CSE associated with the gender of household headship. We use an Engel equivalence scale approach for this purpose. This analysis sheds new light on the existing debate on poverty and household headship in a different lens. Our results indicate that female-headed households enjoy greater CSE than their male-headed counterparts. However, we find that the poverty rate among the female headed households are higher than that of their male-headed counterparts, even after CSE are allowed for.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Finance and Economics
Subtitle of host publicationICFE 2017
EditorsPham Thi Minh Ly, Jindrich Soukup, Phan Dao, Phung Minh Tuan
Place of PublicationVietnam
PublisherLibuše Macáková - Melandrium
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-80-87990-11-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Finance and Economics: Innovation and Sustainable Entrepreneurship - Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam
Duration: 21 Sept 201722 Sept 2017
Conference number: 4th


ConferenceInternational Conference on Finance and Economics
Abbreviated titleICFE 2017
Country/TerritoryViet Nam
CityHo Chi Minh


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