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The Economics of Time as a Resource


  • Christopher C. Klein


The characteristics of time as a resource are examined in order to seek evidence of these characteristics in fundamental concepts of Economics. A series of thought experiments on time travel demonstrate that a constant irreversible rate of time usage underlies the concepts of opportunity cost, time preference, and interest. This leads to the startling suggestion that the root question in Economics concerns the choice of how to spend time. Thus, the principles of Economics are tied closely to the human perception of time and more closely to the human condition than is generally admitted in undergraduate classes on the subject.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher C. Klein, 2007. "The Economics of Time as a Resource," Working Papers 200712, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200712

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joe S. Ballard & E. Anthon Eff, 2014. "Working for the Weekend: A Time Allocation Model for Student Workers," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, vol. 14(1), pages 108-119, Fall.

    More about this item


    time; choice; opportunity cost;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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