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The Demand for Variety: A Household Production Perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Reuben Gronau

    (Rosita and Esteban Herczeg Professor of Economics Emeritus, Hebrew University, and research associate, National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

    (Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin, and research associate, IZA and NBER)

Abstract

Economists have devoted substantial attention to firms' supply of variety, but little to consumers' demand for variety. Employing the framework of home production, we trace differences in demand to differences in the opportunity costs of activities, associated with investments in human capital. Schooling alters time costs and changes the variety of activities household members choose. Time budgets from Australia, Israel, and West Germany show that higher own and spouses' incomes raise variety (suggesting positive income effects). Education increases variety independent of income and earnings; part of its impact goes beyond a correlation of educational attainment with preferences for variety. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:3:p:562-572
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "Timing, togetherness and time windfalls," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 601-623.
    3. 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.
    4. Gronau, Reuben, 1987. "Home production -- A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 273-304 Elsevier.
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    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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