How Do Unemployment and Recessions Affect Time in Food Preparation and Food Expenditures within the Family?

Margaret Gough, Harvard University

During recessions families may be more likely to eat meals at home than during periods of economic growth, at least partly to save money, and this may result in an increase in the amount of time family members spend preparing food. If families eat at home to save money during recessions, we would expect to see similar changes when a family member becomes unemployed, even in periods of economic growth. In this paper I examine the relationships between recession, unemployment, time in food preparation, and expenditures on food within the family using data from the American Time Use Survey and Consumer Expenditure Survey. The results of this study have implications for those interested in time-use patterns and household labor, as well as for researchers interested in the relationships between economic circumstances and health outcomes.

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Presented in Session 80: Time-Use in Households and Families