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Maids' Services as a Substitute Factor in Home-Production


  • Ana Claudia Polato e Fava
  • Mary Arends-Kuenning


While maid's services are considered luxury goods in developed countries, that is not always the case in developing countries. Economists believe that the reason for that is the availability of cheap unskilled labor supply in developing countries. However, few attention has been given to the scarcity of durable goods used in home-production in developing countries households. The same durable goods that are considered necessity on developed countries. This paper investigates the role of women's bar- gaining power, women's shadow price of time, and family composition in deciding on expenditures in production durable goods and maid's services. The test of bargaining power indicates that the expenditure on home-production factors is an outcome of a bargaining process. Households in which the wife has higher schooling than husband, the relative probability of having maid's services is higher. The results of the di erence of husbands' and wives' education are consistent with the intrahousehold time allocation, where wives that have comparative advantage in market work are more likely to substitute market goods for home-production. Wives that do not have comparative advantage in market work specialize in home- production, demanding more time-saving durable goods. There is no evidence of parental preferences for sons or daughters. However, there is evidence that daughters' time substitutes wives's time and maid's services in home-production.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Claudia Polato e Fava & Mary Arends-Kuenning, 2008. "Maids' Services as a Substitute Factor in Home-Production," Working Papers 08_10, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
  • Handle: RePEc:fea:wpaper:08_10

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    File Function: First version, 2008
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patricia Cortés & José Tessada, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigration and the Labor Supply of Highly Skilled Women," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 88-123, July.
    2. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-1096, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna Alexopoulos & Tiago V. Cavalcanti, 2010. "Cheap home goods and persistent inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 45(3), pages 417-451, December.

    More about this item


    Intrahousehold allocation; durable goods ownership; maid's services; parental preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination


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