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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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    29. Pollak, Robert A & Wachter, Michael L, 1975. "The Relevance of the Household Production Function and Its Implications for the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 255-277, April.
    30. 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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    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. Partha Pratim DUBE, 2020. "Least Possible Time to Reach Targeted Profit Function under Unitary Transformation," Romanian Journal of Economics, Institute of National Economy, vol. 50(1(59)), pages 05-15, June.
    3. Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, 2017. "A cohort perspective of the effect of unemployment on fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 1211-1239, October.
    4. Emran, Shahe & Shilpi, Forhad, 2018. "Agricultural Productivity, Hired Labor, Wages, and Poverty: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 470-482.
    5. S Subramanian, 2018. "Participation of rural households in farm, non-farm and pluri-activity: Evidences from India," Working Papers 412, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    6. Giulia Mancini, 2018. "Women's Labor Force Participation in Italy, 1861-2011," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-68.
    7. Levin, Simon, 2021. "Mathematical Ecology, Evolution and the Social Sciences," Ecology, Economy and Society - the INSEE Journal, Indian Society of Ecological Economics (INSEE), vol. 4(01), January.
    8. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2020. "The Incubator of Human Capital: The NBER and the Rise of the Human Capital Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 26909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    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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    1. Labor Economics (ECON 431-531)

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