Food Expenditure, Food Preparation Time and Household Economies of Scale
AbstractThis paper is concerned with the effect of household size on the allocation of household money and time to food consumption. A broad literature has examined household economies of scale. Since food is a private good, it might be expected that larger households, which could economize on shared goods such as housing, would spend more per equivalent household member on food. However, recent studies have found the opposite result: for households with similar total expenditures, larger families spend less per capita on food. This paper examines household time inputs and shows that economies of scale in preparing food can explain this result. I introduce economies of scale into a household production model. The size of the household changes both the relative price of a unit of food and the time required to prepare it, affecting household demand for both inputs to food production. Larger households can achieve the same level of consumption at lower expenditure by substituting cheaper production time for more expensive ingredients. Using household expenditure and time-use survey data from Russia, I estimate the effect of changing household size on food expenditures and food-related time. The estimates indicate that doubling the size of household reduces per capita food expenditure by over 30% and per capita preparation time by about 75% in households with two and more people. A married man from a two adult household spends three times less time preparing food than a single man living alone. For a woman, a transition from a single to a two-person households results in more modest time saving of 45% in case such transition is not a result of a marriage. A married woman enjoys no time savings at all, while a woman with children spends more time in food-related activities than her single counterparts. I also find that the time intensity of meals increases with household size, but that the quality of meals is unaffected by changes in household size.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0412005.
Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 20 Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 50
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://220.127.116.11
household economies; time use; household production; food consumption;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J - Labor and Demographic Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-01-02 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Reuben Gronau & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2008.
"The Demand for Variety: A Household Production Perspective,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 562-572, August.
- Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Gronau, Reuben, 2007. "The Demand for Variety: A Household Production Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 2767, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Reuben Gronau & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2001. "The Demand for Variety: A Household Production Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Gibson, 2002.
"Why Does the Engel Method Work? Food Demand, Economies of Size and Household Survey Methods,"
Working Papers in Economics
02/02, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
- Gibson, John, 2002. " Why Does the Engel Method Work? Food Demand, Economies of Size and Household Survey Methods," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(4), pages 341-59, September.
- Jayanta Bhattacharya & Thomas DeLeire & Steven Haider & Janet Currie, 2002. "Heat or Eat? Cold Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families," NBER Working Papers 9004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2004. "Consumption vs. Expenditure," NBER Working Papers 10307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Olivier Bargain & Olivier Donni & Prudence Kwenda, 2011.
"Intrahousehold Distribution and Child Poverty: Theory and Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire,"
2011-031, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
- Bargain, Olivier & Donni, Olivier & Kwenda, Prudence, 2011. "Intrahousehold Distribution and Child Poverty: Theory and Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire," IZA Discussion Papers 6029, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Trevon D. Logan, 2008.
"Economies of Scale in the Household: Puzzles and Patterns from the American Past,"
NBER Working Papers
13869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Trevon D. Logan, 2011. "Economies Of Scale In The Household: Puzzles And Patterns From The American Past," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(4), pages 1008-1028, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.