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Keywords:

  • Time allocation;
  • Household production technology;
  • Transition economy;
  • Household goods

Abstract

The decision of how much time to allocate to meal preparation is an endogenous variable to be determined by the opportunity cost of time, preference between market and nonmarket goods and leisure, and household production technology. Using consumer survey data collected in Bulgaria in 1997, this study measured the effect of household income on the amount of time allocated to meal preparation after controlling the effects of demographic, socio-economic and other characteristics of households. We used the first-hurdle dominance model to distinguish non-meal preparers from meal preparers. Since the overall pattern of allocating time between market work, household activity and leisure in a particular country is likely to be conditional on the stage of its economic development, this study presents a unique opportunity to assess the rationality of the time allocation behavior of consumers in an economy in transition from a centrally-planned to a market-oriented system. Results showed that household income did not influence the decision of how much time to allocate to meal preparation. While the insignificant linkage between income and time allocation to meal preparation could be due to the differences in preference and household production technology. It can be also attributed to the legacy of four decades of a central-planning system and underdeveloped food manufacturing and service industries. ©2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.