Buying Less but Shopping More: The Use of Nonmarket Labor during a Crisis
Households allocating time between market and non-market uses should respond to income variations by adjusting the time devoted to shopping search and other home production activities. In this paper, we exploit high-frequency household expenditure data to examine the use of changes in shopping intensity as a method of mitigating the effects of the 2002 Argentine economic crisis. Although the total quantity and real value of goods purchased fell during the crisis, consumers are found to be doing more shopping search. This increase in shopping is shown to enable households to seek out lower prices and locate substitutes, allowing a given level of expenditure to buy more goods. The magnitude and prevalence of these effects suggest that this non-market use of labor can be an important coping strategy for households during a recession.
Volume (Year): Volume 11 Number 2 (2011)
Issue (Month): Spring 2011 (January)
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