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A Strategy for Evaluating the Opportunity Cost of Time Estimates from New Choice Margins

Listed author(s):
  • K.E. McConnell
  • Juha V. Siikamäki
  • V. Kerry Smith

Information frictions imply it is reasonable to expect the same commodity, in a given location, to sell for different prices at the same time. Aguiar and Hurst (AH) [2007] demonstrate how the search behavior implied by these price differences can be used estimate the opportunity cost of time. Their important insight allows the estimation of time prices over the lifecycle and the evaluation of the impacts of macro shocks on them. We provide the first assessment of the plausibility of this type of search behavior as a window on time prices. AH’s measures of the opportunity cost of time are shadow values that are jointly determined with individuals’ decision to search for bargains. Our analysis overcomes the challenges posed by this endogeneity by exploiting the complementarity between time and some types of market goods and services. We use changes in the expenditures for these goods in response to macro shocks as a basis for evaluating the AH choice margin. Using three different data sources we find that changes in expenditures on recreation related goods and services and time spent recreating are consistent with the AH framework’s assessment of the impact of the Great Recession for the opportunity cost of time.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23349.

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Date of creation: Apr 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23349
Note: EEE EFG PE
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  1. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-1187, December.
  2. Aviv Nevo & Arlene Wong, 2015. "The Elasticity of Substitution Between Time and Market Goods: Evidence from the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 21318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rupert, Peter & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Estimating Substitution Elasticities in Household Production Models," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 179-193, June.
  4. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Life-Cycle Prices and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1533-1559, December.
  5. Johannes Stroebel & Joseph Vavra, 2014. "House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices," NBER Working Papers 20710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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