Taking Time Use Seriously: Income, Wages and Price Discrimination

36 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Daniel S. Hamermesh

Daniel S. Hamermesh

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jeff Biddle

Michigan State University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


The American Time Use Survey 2003-15, the French Enquête Emploi du Temps, 2009-10, and the German Zeitverwendungserhebung, 2012-13, have sufficient observations to allow examining the theory of household production in much more detail than ever before. We identify income effects on time use by non-workers, showing that relatively time-intensive commodities—sleep and TV-watching—are inferior. For workers we identify income and substitution effects separately, with both in the same direction on these commodities as the income effects among non-workers.We rationalize the results by generalizing Becker's (1965) "commodity production" model, allowing both substitution between time and goods in household production and substitution among commodities in utility functions. We then use the evidence of price discrimination in product markets against minorities in the U.S. and immigrants in France to motivate an extension of the model that predicts how household production differs between members of these groups and the majority. We find the predicted results—minorities engage in more time-intensive activities, sleep and TV-watching, than otherwise identical majority-group members.

Keywords: time use, racial discrimination, sleep, television-watching

JEL Classification: J22, J15

Suggested Citation

Hamermesh, Daniel S. and Biddle, Jeff E., Taking Time Use Seriously: Income, Wages and Price Discrimination. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11997, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301765 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3301765

Daniel S. Hamermesh (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8526 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Jeff E. Biddle

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics