The literature on intrahousehold allocation in European history has typically built on bargaining models originating from Amartya Sen and the South Asian “missing girls” paradigm, testing hypotheses of male earner bias. Often, a 50/50 benchmark has been used, assuming any skew in spending meant discrimination. This study combines external measures of variation in morbidity by age, sex and season with analysis of household health expenditure in Finland in the 1920s. The results suggest that money largely followed sickness rather than gender or earnings. This supports an emerging literature challenging bargaining models and suggesting that significant historical differences may have existed between world regions.

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