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How Do We Spend Our time?

Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

Jean Kimmel, Editor

Publication Year: 2008

This book offers contributions from a number of noted economists who exploit the American Time Use Survey to reveal findings that have numerous implications for the U.S. labor market. The authors examine topics such as child care, housework, household production and consumption, and shift work. In each case, the focus is on the value of time and how time spent on one activity instead of another represents value gained for the first activity and value lost for the second.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Front Matter

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Table of Contents

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pp. v

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pp. vii

I want to thank the authors for their commitment to this project, and Margaret Coughlin of the Department of Economics here at Western Michigan University for her able handling of the logistics related to the authors’ visits to campus. Additionally, I want to acknowledge my remarkable children, David and Lizzie, for their constant...

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pp. 1-9

Economics is about scarcity of resources and the choices people make in light of that scarcity. Perhaps the most obviously limited resource is time. There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, regardless of an individual’s wealth or power or country of residence. Thus, each of us confronts the necessary...

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Chapter 1. The Time of Our Lives

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pp. 11-30

Time is the ultimate scarce resource, yet we do not pay enough attention to its scarcity. This chapter presents information on allocations of this limited resource in the United States and elsewhere. More important, however, I wish to illustrate how economics can provide insights into the role of time in our...

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Chapter 2. The Value of Unpaid Child Care in the United States in 2003

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pp. 31-56

Economists have long recognized that nonmarket work, including time spent raising children, has economic value. Conventional measures of gross domestic product, based only on market transactions, understate the total value of goods and services produced. As women have entered paid employment...

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Chapter 3. Does Housework Continue to Narrow the Income Gap? The Impact of American Housework on Economic Inequality over Time

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pp. 57-79

Anyone who has ever tackled a pile of dirty laundry, contemplated what to cook for dinner, helped a child with a homework problem, or tended a garden knows that time spent doing household chores enhances a household’s overall quality of life. If a member of the household does not do the chore, the services...

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Chapter 4. Household Production, Consumption, and Retirement

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pp. 81-108

There are countless studies examining retirement timing, retirement savings behavior, and consumption expenditures after retirement. We know far less about how people alter their time allocation to activities other than market work when they retire. How they alter time use upon retirement is important...

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Chapter 5. The Time Use of Nonworking Men

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pp. 109-139

Since the late 1960s, the fraction of prime-aged men who do not work for a period of one year or more has nearly quadrupled, increasing from 2.2 percent in 1967 to 8.2 percent in 2004.1 Figure 5.1 illustrates this trend along with trends in the reasons for not working. Although most nonworking men are sick...

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Chapter 6. Day, Evening, and Night Workers: A Comparison of What They Do in Their Nonwork Hours and with Whom They Interact

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pp. 141-175

During the last several decades, dramatic shifts have occurred in the timing of economic activity. Grocery stores have extended their hours, mail orders for merchandise can be placed any time of day, and financial markets’ hours have expanded with the increased electronic linkage of markets. Further, with the...

The Authors

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pp. 177


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pp. 179-186

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About the Institute

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pp. 187

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is a nonprofit research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment-related problems at the national, state, and local levels. It is an activity of the W.E. Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Corporation, which was established in 1932 to administer a fund set...

E-ISBN-13: 9780880994323
E-ISBN-10: 0880994320
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880993371
Print-ISBN-10: 0880993375

Page Count: 187
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: First