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The Role of Preferences and Opportunity Costs in Determining the Time Allocated to Housework

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  • Leslie S. Stratton

Abstract

Research on intrahousehold time allocations has assumed that housework is a necessary evil and focused exclusively on the causal role of opportunity costs. In fact, agents likely act to maximize happiness, and preferences regarding even mundane household chores differ considerably. I use information from the 2000-01 UK Time Use Survey to examine time spent on laundry, ironing, cleaning, and food shopping. Joint multivariate analysis of his and her time on weekend and weekday days as well as maid service reveals that her opportunity cost of time matters more than his, but that his preferences play a greater role than hers.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.3.606
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 606-11

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:606-11

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  1. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hersch, Joni & Stratton, Leslie S, 1994. "Housework, Wages, and the Division of Housework Time for Employed Spouses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 120-25, May.
  3. Marcel Kerkhofs & Peter Kooreman, 2003. "Identification and estimation of a class of household production models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 337-369.
  4. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2007. "AJAE Appendix: Time to Eat: Household Production Under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), November.
  5. Mette Gortz, 2011. "Home production – Enjoying the process or the product?," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 8(1), pages 85-109, November.
  6. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Anda Leon, Maria Daniela, 2013. "Household response to higher costs of domestic services in Ecuador," Master's Theses 146714, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  2. Vivien Procher & Nolan Ritter & Colin Vance, 2014. "Making Dough or Baking Dough? Spousal Housework Responsibilities in Germany, 1992-2011," Ruhr Economic Papers 0472, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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