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Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker

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  • James J. Heckman

Abstract

Gary Becker's classic study, A Theory of the Allocation of Time, laid the analytical foundations for the study of household production and the allocation of time within the household. The analytical framework of household production theory developed in this paper remained a pillar of his later work on the economics of the family and the economics of nonmarket activities more generally. Becker provided a formal model of households producing outputs like food, children, and housing that bundled goods and time. Becker's great contribution was to apply the model to interpret a broad array of empirical phenomena. Becker's framework allowed for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of consumer choice, and interpretation of income and substitution effects. Its continuing relevance in empirical economics is a testimony to its power.
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Suggested Citation

  • James J. Heckman, 2015. "Introduction to A Theory of the Allocation of Time by Gary Becker," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(583), pages 403-409, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v::y:2015:i:583:p:403-409
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2015.125.issue-583
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    8. Robert A. Pollak, 2013. "Allocating Household Time: When Does Efficiency Imply Specialization?," NBER Working Papers 19178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "A Theory of the Allocation of Time and Goods Over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters,in: The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle, pages 1-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, July.
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    13. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1987. "Specification and Estimation of Nonseparable Two-Stage Technologies: The Leontief CES and the Cobb-Douglas CES," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 311-333, April.
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    20. Reuben Gronau, 1970. "The Value of Time in Passenger Transportation: The Demand for Air Travel," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gron70-1, July.
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    23. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 279-288, Part II, .
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    25. Gilbert Ghez & Gary S. Becker, 1975. "The Allocation of Time and Goods over the Life Cycle," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ghez75-1, July.
    26. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
    27. Jacob Mincer, 1962. "Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: Aspects of Labor Economics, pages 63-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    29. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, July.
    30. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
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    32. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
    33. W. M. Gorman, 1980. "A Possible Procedure for Analysing Quality Differentials in the Egg Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(5), pages 843-856.
    34. Heckman, James J., 2014. "Private Notes on Gary Becker," IZA Discussion Papers 8200, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2015. "A simple identification strategy for Gary Becker’s time allocation model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 187-190.
    2. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0640-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Giulia Mancini, 2017. "Women’s labor force participation in Italy, 1861-2016," HHB Working Papers Series 8, The Historical Household Budgets Project.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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