Men's time allocation to subsistence work among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay

Kim Hill, Hillard Kaplan, Kristen Hawkes, Ana Magdelena Hurtado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Quantitative data on men's time allocation among the Ache of Paraguay are presented. The data indicate that Ache men work almost 7 hours daily in direct food acquisition, which is the major daily activity. The amount of time Ache men work is compared with the amount reported for other modern hunter-gatherers and tribal horticulturalists. The characterization of hunter-gatherers as the "original affluent society" does not agree with currently available data. The results show high variance across societies, both hunting and horticultural, and suggest that time spent in subsistence work is not simply a function of food "needs." We propose that the value of time spent in potential alternative activities must be considered in order to predict time spent in subsistence tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-47
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • hunter-gatherers
  • men
  • subsistence
  • time allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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