Household Labor Supply and Nutrition

Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Johns Hopkins University

This paper explores the mechanisms through which household labor supply effects the combination of time and money used in the production of food and the resulting quality of food-intake of family members. I find that female labor force participation is negatively associated with time spent shopping for and preparing food and positively associated with the share of household food expenditure spent on food prepared away-from-home. This substitution of money for time in food consumption can have detrimental effects on the nutrition of both adults and children in the family. Among married couple families, I find that the quality of food-intake is generally higher for members of families where the wife does not participate in the labor-force, compared to families where the wife works part-time or full-time. In single-mother families, however, the quality of food-intake is higher when the mother is employed, compared to when she is not.

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Presented in Poster Session 6