Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 17, Issue 3–4, pp 351–363 | Cite as

Effects of relative advantage on time use in farm families

  • Geraldine I. Olson
  • Jing J. Xiao
Household Time Allocation


An assumption of comparative advantage (CA) is that all members in efficient households specialize in market or household work. The CA for Oregon farm households was measured by differences between husbands and wives in wages and schooling for nonfarm work, and in farm decision-making responsibility and years lived on a farm for farm work. The spouse with the advantage is assumed to spend more time in that work sector and less time in household work than his (her) spouse. The hypothesis is supported for market work. For farm decision making, results are consistent with the hypothesis but not significant. Years lived on a farm is consistent for husbands, but wives who have the CA do significantly less farm work than wives of men who hold the CA. Experience may not be a good measure of CA, or perhaps farm work provides process satisfaction to farm men (and their wives) who work longer hours.

Key Words

division of labor household work specialization time use 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geraldine I. Olson
    • 1
  • Jing J. Xiao
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family Sciences, Milam 322, HDFS, College of Home Economics and EducationOregon State UniversityCorvallis
  2. 2.College of Human Sciences and ServicesUniversity of Rhode IslandKingston

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