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Measuring trends in leisure

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  • Mark Aguiar
  • Erik Hurst

Abstract

In this paper, we use five decades of time-use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We find that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working-age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we show that leisure for men increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Alternatively, the “consumption equivalent” of the increase in leisure is valued at 8 to 9 percent of total 2003 U.S. consumption expenditures. We also find that leisure increased during the last 40 years for a number of sub-samples of the population, with less educated adults experiencing the largest increases. Lastly, we document a growing “inequality” in leisure that is the mirror image of the growing inequality of wages and expenditures, making welfare calculation based solely on the latter series incomplete.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): ()
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2006

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Keywords: Leisure ; Hours of labor;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wencke Gwozdz & Lucia Reisch & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2010. "Time Allocation, Consumption, and Consumer Policy," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 115-118, June.
  2. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," NBER Working Papers 14827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2006. "Consumption, Income, and Material Well-Being After Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 11976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Knowles, 2006. "Why are Married Men Working So Much?," 2006 Meeting Papers 445, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Björn Bünger, 2010. "The demand for relational goods: empirical evidence from the European Social Survey," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 177-198, June.
  6. Mary Burke & Frank Heiland, 2006. "Social dynamics of obesity," Public Policy Discussion Paper 06-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  7. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked (Long-Run Trends)," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 10, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  8. Bar, Michael & Leukhina, Oksana, 2005. "Accounting for Changes in Labor Force Participation of Married Women: The Case of the U.S. since 1959," MPRA Paper 17264, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2009.
  9. Pere Gomis-Porqueras & Adrian Peralta-Alva, 2008. "A macroeconomic analysis of obesity," Working Papers 2008-017, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. Knowles, John, 2007. "Why Are Married Men Working So Much? Home Production, Household Bargaining and Per-Capita Hours," IZA Discussion Papers 2909, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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