Three essays on the economics of time use



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Economists have rejected the popular view that time use is primarily influenced by local customs and law, and instead argue that it is determined by optimal choices of economic agents and the market mechanism. However the analysis of time allocation has been focused on the labor-leisure choice problem which posits a worker who wants more leisure because of his preference for leisure over work. Thus going beyond the standard model, these essays add to the theory of the economics of time use. First I examine why married men earn more. I explore the possibility that differences in household work by marital status can explain the observed male marital wages advantage. Depending on the type and timing of household work, I segregate it into flexible and inflexible household work, using the American Time Use Survey. Empirical results provide strong support for the productivity difference between married and never married men. Household work has significant negative and differential effects on wages. The effects are not only driven by total time spent on household work, but also by types and timing of household work. The result shows that inflexible household work has a stronger negative effect on wages than flexible household work. Second I study how taxes affect time and goods allocation in home production. I claim that an increase in sales taxes encourages households to substitute away from the market goods input in favor of untaxed non-market time input. I explore the substitution response by relating household market purchases and time use. The theory part shows that the size of elasticity of substitution between market goods input and time input is crucial for understanding the government's optimal tax policy. Then I show that it is optimal to impose lower taxes on goods used in the production of commodities with a higher elasticity of substitution. In the empirical part, I estimate sizes of elasticities of substitution of goods for time with the combined survey of Mexican household consumption expenditures and time allocation for 2002. I find that the elasticity of substitution for 'Eating' is lowest. Finally wage compensation for climate is examined. Using the Merged Outgoing Rotation Group File from 2002 to 2007, I find that the North-South wage differential in construction and extraction occupations is much higher than in any other occupations. I claim that this is because weather affects wage determination. If individuals are to locate in both desirable and undesirable locations, undesirable locations must offer higher wages. Using the O*NET database, I obtain information on how often an occupation requires exposure to weather conditions. Estimation results of the wage equation show that wage compensation for living in bad weather amounts to 11.9 percent of hourly wages evaluated at sample means. The difference in wage compensation for working in bad weather between the most exposed (outdoorness index = 5) and least exposed (outdoorness index = 0) occupations is estimated to be 9.6 percent of hourly wages evaluated at sample means. In addition, I find that the occupational injury risk is related to weather conditions in the case of construction and extraction occupations.