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

  • Leslie S. Stratton

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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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. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2006. "Time to Eat: Household Production Under Increasing Income Inequality," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_434, Levy Economics Institute.
  2. 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.
  3. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
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