Returns to scale in food preparation and the Deaton–Paxson puzzle

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

March 15, 2018


We consider returns to scale in food preparation as a potential resolution of a puzzle raised by Deaton and Paxson (Journal of Political Economy, 106(5), 897–930, 1998). We clarify the conditions under which returns to scale in food preparation can resolve the puzzle. The key requirement is that foods are heterogeneous in time costs. We then show that detailed food expenditure and time use data are consistent with larger households shifting to more time intensive foods.

Published in

Review of Economics of the Household

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 16 , p.5 -19




© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.



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