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Exploring the Returns-to-Scale in Food Preparation

Author

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  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Yuqian Lu

Abstract

We show that as household size increases, households substitute away from prepared foods and towards ingredients. They also devote more time to food preparation. These observations (1) are consistent with a simple model with home production, returns to scale in the time input to food preparation, and varieties of food that differ in the required time input; (2) support the idea that returns to scale in home production are an important source of returns to scale in consumption; and (3), mean that across household sizes, household market expenditures on food are not proportional to food consumption quantities. The latter may provide a partial explanation for a puzzle raised by Deaton and Paxson.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas F. Crossley & Yuqian Lu, 2004. "Exploring the Returns-to-Scale in Food Preparation," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-06, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2004-06
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2004-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Browning & Pierre-André Chiappori & Arthur Lewbel, 2013. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1267-1303.
    2. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2001. "Household Saving and Full Consumpyion Over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 428, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 897-930, October.
    4. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2004. "Consumption vs. Expenditure," NBER Working Papers 10307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2003. "Engel's What? A Response to Gan and Vernon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1378-1381, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Victoria Vernon, 2010. "Marriage: for love, for money…and for time?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 433-457, December.
    2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 852-863.
    3. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Tuttle, Charlotte, 2012. "The Effect of Energy Price Shocks on Household Food Security," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124791, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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