Staudigel, Matthias (2012). On the application of household production theory to health and nutrition.
This paper reviews the application of household production theory to health and nutrition and their determinants in the economics literature. We examine 17 recent studies applying this approach and analyse how they model utility functions, elementary goods, and production processes. Notwithstanding the valuable insights provided by these economic analyses into the phenomenon of obesity and health behaviour, the framework’s basic idea, the separation of utility generation and production technology, is not pursued consistently. The majority of the studies reviewed focus solely on health production, thereby neglecting important production processes for other elementary commodities and their related inputs and technologies. We advocate a broader application of the household production principle and discuss how such a view can guide theoretical and empirical analysis and may provide inspiration for data collection and policy design.