Becker's theory of home production suggests substitutability between consumption spending and home production. Using panel data with detailed information on spending and time use, we analyze households' ability to replace consumption spending by home produced counterparts. Keeping wages fixed and changing lifetime resources by the shock to housing wealth during the Great Recession we estimate an elasticity of substitution that is consistent with a Life-Cycle Becker model. However, we estimate that only about 11% of total spending is replaceable by home production, which, in contrast to prior literature, makes it unlikely that home production fully mitigates the consequences of wealth shocks to well-being.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.