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Spending patterns of men and women.

Stephanie Shipp, "Spending Patterns of Men and Women," published in 1987 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Business and Economics Section.

Intuitively one expects men and women to spend their money differently. But do they? Little work has been done to date on this subject despite the growing significance of women in the economy. The reason for this, in part, is due to lack of data that includes observations of consumption for men and women separately.

The ongoing Consumer Expenditure Survey is one source of data that can be used to examine gender differences. The survey does not collect data on which member of the household purchased an item. Therefore, to isolate expenditure differences between men and women, data for single men and single women are used. Because singles account for more than 1 consumer unit in the survey provides a sufficient amount of data to examine gender differences. It must be noted that gender differences between single men and single women may be different from those that exist between their counterparts in other types of households, such as married couples. Therefore, this analysis should be considered a first step in analyzing gender differences. Data for 1984-85 are used.

Demographics. One of the most notable differences when comparing single men and women in the expenditure survey is the difference in age. Over 50 percent of single men are under age 35, whereas more than 50 percent of single women are age 55 or over. The age difference between men and women narrows as income increases. However, three-fourths of the women earn less than $15,000, compared to about half the men. The gap in average income is wide at all age groups.

Sources of income. Single men, on average, earn about $7,000 more than single women. There are also large differences in their sources of income. On average, single women earn three-fifths of their income from wages and salaries, while single men earn almost four-fifths from this income source. Single women receive one-fourth of their income from Social Security, pensions, and government retirement. This is an important source of income because there are more women in the older age group. They also earn almost 10 percent from interest, dividends, and other property income. These two sources of income account for 35 percent of total income for single women but less than 15 percent of total income for single men.

Expenditure patterns: 1984-85. Single men spend an average of $15,000 per year compared to about $11,000 spent by single women. Because of this income difference and the large age difference, regression analysis is used to examine expenditure differences between single men and women after controlling for income, age, and race. The regression results show that women spend more for health care and life and other personal insurance while men spend more for alcoholic beverages, shelter, used vehicles, and gasoline and motor oil. The interaction of gender and income, age, and race is also examined and is found to be significant for several expenditures.
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Title Annotation:Consumer Expenditure Survey Conference paper summaries
Author:Shipp, Stephanie
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Aug 1, 1988
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