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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 3 (May 2012)

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The Role of Preferences and Opportunity Costs in Determining the Time Allocated to Housework

Article Citation

Stratton, Leslie S. 2012. "The Role of Preferences and Opportunity Costs in Determining the Time Allocated to Housework." American Economic Review, 102(3): 606-11.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.3.606

Abstract

Research on intrahousehold time allocations has assumed that housework is a necessary evil and focused exclusively on the causal role of opportunity costs. In fact, agents likely act to maximize happiness, and preferences regarding even mundane household chores differ considerably. I use information from the 2000-01 UK Time Use Survey to examine time spent on laundry, ironing, cleaning, and food shopping. Joint multivariate analysis of his and her time on weekend and weekday days as well as maid service reveals that her opportunity cost of time matters more than his, but that his preferences play a greater role than hers.

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Authors

Stratton, Leslie S. (VA Commonwealth U)

JEL Classifications

D13: Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation


American Economic Review


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