Household production function

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Consumers often choose not directly from the commodities that they purchase but from commodities they transform into goods through a household production function. It is these goods that they value. The idea was originally proposed by Gary Becker, Kelvin Lancaster, and Richard Muth in the mid-1960s.


A simple example of this is baking a cake. The consumer purchases flour, eggs, and sugar and then uses some labor and time producing a cake. The consumer did not really want the flour, sugar, or eggs, but purchased them to produce the cake for consumption (instead of buying it e.g. from a bakery).

Formal models[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Gary S. Becker and Gilbert Ghez (1975). The Allocation of Time and Goods Over the Life Cycle. New York, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-87014-514-2. 
  • Gary S. Becker (1981, Enlarged ed., 1991). A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-90698-5.  (HUP descr.)
  • Gary S. Becker (1987). "family," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 2, pp. 281–86.
  • Richard A. Berk (1987). "household production," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, New York, Stockton, v. 2, pp. 673–75
  • Reuben Gronau (1986). "Home Production," Handbook of Labor Economics, v. 1. Elsevier.
  • _____ (1997). "The Theory of Home Production: The Past Ten Years," Journal of Labor Economics, 15(2), p p. 197-205.
  • _____ (2008). "household production and public goods," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
  • Richard F. Muth (1966). "Household Production and Consumer Demand Functions", Econometrica, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Jul., 1966) (pp. 699-708) [1]
  • Robert A. Pollak and Michael L. Wachter (1975). "The Relevance of the Household Production Function and Its Implications for the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, 83(2), pp. 255-278.
  • Theodore W. Schultz, ed. (1974). Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, Chicago, University of Chicago Press