Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Economics of Toilet Scrubbing

About a month ago Marketplace did a story on recent college grads who had hired someone to come in to clean their apartment. Their roommate the reporter seemed a bit stunned that her roommates weren’t cleaning the house themselves.

I was thinking about this from an econ 101 standpoint. Which would generally tells us that if someone could clean your house for cheaper per hour than your hourly wage, then you should hire a house keeper and work an extra hour. You might also take into account how much you like working and how much you like cleaning.

But then again most people can’t just work another hour. So what else is in the calculation? It’s a set of 3 roommates. Sure they could divide the chores. But monitoring who does what is a pain, so is enforcing that your roommates actually clean or their effort. Splitting a house keeper is a lot easier.

Final thought, I’m really not impressed with the Psychologist interviewed as part of the story. Why is hiring a housecleaner such a big deal and indicative of a spoiled generation? In short my guess is that generation Y was more likely to grow up with a house cleaner, since their mom was more likely to work .

For what it is worth growing up we had our house cleaned about once a week by someone my parents hired. I don’t hire someone to do it now, but probably will at some point….

Anyone interested in cleaning my house in exchange for economics lectures?

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1 comment:

BigotBlogger said...

I love your blog!

Siddharth Singh,
Economics Graduate,
Delhi University,