Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2000:14: Does Time-Use Data Support the Unitary Model? A Test using Swedish Time-Use Data from 1984 and 1993

Daniel Hallberg ()
Additional contact information
Daniel Hallberg: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: Mainly because of data limitations, the unitary model (dating back to Becker, among others) has been the common-used theoretical framework in microanalysis of the household labor supply. Because of its simplicity, the household members are assumed to allocate time and consumption in consensus, having the implication that it is the households, not the individuals themselves, that are the interesting economic agents. In this paper, I study the household decision to supply labor and test if the unitary model holds. What is subject to a test in this paper is the resulting symmetry of the Slutsky matrix, i.e., that the compensated cross-wage effects are equal. The test uses Swedish time-use data from 1984 and 1993. As empirical specification, I use the trans-log, thereby avoiding some of the restrictive assumptions about functional forms that can be found in other studies. Contrary to most other studies, the conclusion is that symmetry cannot be rejected. This suggests that observed household labor supply could be an outcome of the single-criterion model.

Keywords: Time-use data; Household production model; Slutsky matrix; IncomePooling; Labor supply

JEL-codes: D13; J22

44 pages, October 16, 2000

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wp2000_14nv04.pdf PDF-file Revised version
2000wp14.pdf PDF-file Original version

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