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Diary versus questionnaire information on time spent on housework – The case of Norway


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  • Ragni Hege Kitterød

    (Division for Social and Demographic Research, Statistics Norway)

  • Torkild Hovde Lyngstad

    (Division for Social and Demographic Research, Statistics Norway)

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    Information on housework-time is important for understanding the daily life organisation of different population groups, especially parents. However, time-use surveys, which are usually seen as the best method for capturing information on unpaid work, are very costly and are conducted rather rarely in Norway. Hence, we want to assess whether housework can be adequately measured by other methods. Internationally, a great deal of work has been undertaken in cross validating diaries and questionnaires. It is often found that questionnaires generate somewhat larger estimates for housework-time than diaries, but the reporting gap varies between groups of people. It is assumed that social desirability plays an important role so that people feeling pressures to do much housework overreport their contributions more than others. In Norway, the housewife role has nearly vanished, and people now rarely meet social prescriptions to do much housework. This might imply less over-reporting in questionnaires. The present paper compares estimates for housework-time from the diary-section and the questionnaire-section in the latest Norwegian Time Use Survey with particular focus on parents. Looking at all adults we find only modest differences in the time-estimates between the two methods, but the gap varies considerably between age groups.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR) in its journal electronic International Journal of Time Use Research.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (October)
    Pages: 13-32

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    Handle: RePEc:leu:journl:2005:vol2:p13-32

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    Related research

    Keywords: Time allocation; data collection and data estimation technology; housework; measuring time-use;

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    1. Jonathan Gershuny & John Robinson, 1988. "Historical changes in the household division of labor," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 537-552, November.
    2. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
    3. Harriet Presser, 1989. "Can we make time for children? the economy, work schedules, and child care," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 523-543, November.
    4. Zick, Cathleen D, 2002. "Clocking the Progress in Time Use Research: Review Article," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 435-42, September.
    5. Ragni Kitterød, 2001. "Does the recording of parallel activities in Time Use Diaries affect the way people report their main activities?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 145-178, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. J. Gimenez-Nadal & Jose Molina & Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, 2012. "Social norms, partnerships and children," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 215-236, June.


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