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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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  • Leslie S. Stratton, 2012. "The Role of Preferences and Opportunity Costs in Determining the Time Allocated to Housework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 606-611, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:606-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 852-863.
    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. Richard Blundell & Pierre-André Chiappori & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Collective Labor Supply with Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1277-1306, December.
    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.
    7. 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 120-125, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:zbw:rwirep:0472 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon Chang & Rachel Connelly & Ping Ma, 2016. "What Will You Do If I Say ‘I Do’?: The Effect of the Sex Ratio on Time Use within Taiwanese Married Couples," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(4), pages 471-500, August.
    3. Procher, Vivien & Ritter, Nolan & Vance, Colin, 2014. "Making Dough or Baking Dough? Spousal Housework Responsibilities in Germany, 1992-2011," Ruhr Economic Papers 472, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Xu, Yan, 2017. "Essays on preference formation and home production," Other publications TiSEM b028fd7e-53ba-4ff6-97eb-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0667-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Thorsten Konietzko, 2015. "Self-Employed Individuals, Time Use, and Earnings," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 64-83, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Tien Manh Vu, 2015. "Home appliances and gender gap of time spent on unpaid housework: evidence using household data from Vietnam," OSIPP Discussion Paper 15E002, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
    9. Mayu Kobayashi & Miki Kobayashi & Tsunao Okumura & Emiko Usui, 2016. "Sharing housework between husbands and wives: how to improve marital satisfaction for working wives in Japan," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-15, December.
    10. Auspurg, Katrin & Iacovou, Maria & Nicoletti, Cheti, 2014. "Housework Share between Partners: Experimental Evidence on Gender Identity," IZA Discussion Papers 8569, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Leslie S. Stratton, 2015. "The determinants of housework time," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 133-133, March.
    12. Melanie Schröder & Norma Burow, 2016. "Couple's Labor Supply, Taxes, and the Division of Housework in a Gender-Neutral Lab," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1593, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Gigi Foster & Leslie S. Stratton, 2018. "Do significant labor market events change who does the chores? Paid work, housework, and power in mixed-gender Australian households," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 483-519, April.
    14. Catherine Sofer & Claire Thibout, 2016. "Women’s Investment in Career and Household Division of Labor," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n38, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    15. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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