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Homework in Macoreconomics I: Basic Theory (Part I of II)

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Randall Wright
  • Richard Rogerson

Abstract

This paper argues that the home, or nonmarket, sector is empirically large, whether measured in terms of the time devoted to household production activities or in terms of the value of home produced output. We also argue that there may be a good deal of substitutability between the market and nonmarket sectors, and that this may be an important missing element in existing macroeconomic models. We pursue this within a framework that labor economists have studied for some time. Symmetrically with the market, household production uses labor and capital to produce a nonmarket consumption good according to a possibly stochastic technology. We show any model with home production is observationally equivalent to another model without home production, but with different preferences. However, for a given set of preferences, incorporating household production can dramatically change the nature and the interpretation of several macroeconomic phenomena. As an example, we show that it is possible to have involuntary unemployment and normal leisure at the same time in models with home production, something that cannot arise in models without it. As another example, we discuss how home production affects the interpretation of models with consumer durables.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3344.

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Date of creation: Apr 1990
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Publication status: published as Benhabib, Jess, R. Rogerson and R. Wright. "Homework in Macroeconomics." Journal of Political Economy 99 (1991): 1166-1185.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3344

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  1. King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I & Rebelo, Sergio T, 2002. "Production, Growth and Business Cycles: Technical Appendix," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 87-116, October.
  2. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  3. Shell, Karl & Wright, Randall, 1993. "Indivisibilities, Lotteries, and Sunspot Equilibria," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-17, January.
  4. Eichenbaum, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter, 1990. "Estimating Models with Intertemporal Substitution Using Aggregate Time Series Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(1), pages 53-69, January.
  5. Hawrylyshyn, Oli, 1976. "The Value of Household Services: A Survey of Empirical Estimates," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 22(2), pages 101-31, June.
  6. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  7. Greenwood, Jeremy & Huffman, Gregory W., 1987. "A dynamic equilibrium model of inflation and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 203-228, March.
  8. Cooley, T.F. & Hansen, G.D., 1988. "The Inflation Tax In A Real Business Cycle Model," RCER Working Papers 155, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  10. Gronau, Reuben, 1980. "Home Production-A Forgotten Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 408-16, August.
  11. Hansen, Gary D. & Sargent, Thomas J., 1988. "Straight time and overtime in equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 281-308.
  12. Jeremy Greenwood & Gregory W. Huffman, 1988. "On Modelling the Natural Rate of Unemployment with Indivisible Labour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 587-609, August.
  13. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  14. Burdett, Kenneth & Wright, Randall, 1989. "Unemployment Insurance and Short-Time Compensation: The Effects on Layoffs, Hours per Worker, and Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1479-96, December.
  15. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  16. Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1988. "Involuntary unemployment in economies with efficient risk sharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 501-515.
  17. Reuben Gronau & R. Layard, . "Home Production - A Survey," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 85-2, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  18. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
  19. Bencivenga, Valerie R, 1992. "An Econometric Study of Hours and Output Variation with Preference Shocks," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(2), pages 449-71, May.
  20. Eisner, Robert, 1988. "Extended Accounts for National Income and Product," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1611-84, December.
  21. Gary S. Becker, . "Family Economics and Macro Behavior," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-16, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  22. Cho, Jang-Ok & Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Family labor supply and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 233-245.
  23. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1988. "Is Theory Really Ahead of Measurement? Current Real Business Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor Market Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 3556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Schwierz, Christoph, 2003. "The Effects of Taxes and Socioeconomic Variables on Market Work and Home Production in Norway in the Years 1970 to 2000," Memorandum 33/2003, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1991. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 37, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Ed Nosal & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "A note on labor contracts with private information and household production," Staff Report 131, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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