Working Paper BETA #2021-37

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Title : Activity and Transportation Decisions within Households

Author(s) : André de Palma, Nathalie Picard, Robin Lindsey

Abstract : Households are often responsible for labour supply, time allocation, transportation and many other decisions. Yet, research in both economics and transportation was traditionally dominated by so-called unitary models that treat households as single decision-making units with a representative individual. This began to change with the development, in the field of Economics of the Family, of non-unitary models that recognize differences in household members preferences, and attempt to describe the joint decision making processes within households. Application of non-unitary models took off in the transportation literature with the special issues on modelling intra-household interactions edited by Bhat and Pendyala, 2005 [24] and Timmermans and Zhang, 2009 [113]. This chapter reviews the development of integrated models of household activity and transportation from the perspective of the Economics of the Family. These models have been applied to long-run decisions such as residential and workplace location and vehicle ownership, as well as short-run decisions including activity schedules, transport mode, and departure time. Non-unitary models go well beyond conventional discrete choice models by accounting for individual family members preferences, and within-family decisionmaking processes. The models feature new concepts specific to within-family interactions, including repeated interaction, bargaining, altruism, and Pareto optimality.

Key-words : Economics of the family, Unitary models, Collective models, Couple decision making, Mobility, Residential location, Discrete choice models

JEL Classification : H31, P25, R41