Measuring the relative productivity of multitasking to sole-tasking in household production: experimental evidence

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Abstract

The standard household production model does not incorporate multitasking, although time-diary data reveal that individuals regularly multitask. We incorporate multitasking into a household production model in which time spent in childcare can be sole-tasked or multitasked with another household production activity and we present the results of an experiment designed to measure the productivity parameters of this model. Because utility and productivity are intertwined and difficult to disentangle in any household production model, we vary the utility pay-offs our experimental participants receive in order to determine how our estimated productivity parameters are affected by a change in the utility parameters. Our estimates of the relative multitasking productivities indicate that, while a minute of sole-tasked time produces more of a single commodity than a minute of multitasked time, total household output increases when two outputs are produced simultaneously, hence confirming the economic motivation for multitasking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1862
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Economics
Volume47
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2015

Keywords

  • experiments
  • multitasking
  • time use

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