A time-hierarchical microeconomic model of activities

Héctor López-Ospina*, Francisco J. Martínez*, Cristián E. Cortés*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The microeconomic approach to explain consumers’ behavior regarding the choice of activities, consumption of goods and use of time is extended in this paper by explicitly including the temporal dimension in the choice-making process. Recognizing that some activities, such as a job and education, involve a long-term commitment and that other activities, such as leisure and shopping, are conducted and modified in the short term, we make these differences explicit in a microeconomic framework. Thus, a hierarchical temporal structure defines the time window or frequency of adjusting the variables of activities (duration, location and consumption of goods) and the magnitude of the resources (time and money) spent. We specify and analyze a stylized microeconomic model with two time scales, the macro and micro level, concluding that preference observations at the micro level, such as transport mode choice, are strongly conditioned by the prevailing choices at the macro scale. This result has strong implications for the current theory of the value and allocation of time, as well as on the location of activities, as illustrated by numerical example.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-236
Number of pages26
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Hierarchical decisions
  • Long-term and short-term activities
  • Temporal scale
  • Value of time


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