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A Century of Work and Leisure

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  • Valerie Ramey

    ()

  • Neville Francis

    ()

Abstract

Has leisure increased over the last century? Standard measures of hours worked suggest that it has. In this paper, we develop a comprehensive measure of non-leisure hours that includes market work, home production, commuting and schooling for the last 105 years. We also present empirical and theoretical arguments for a definition of “per capita†that encompasses the entire population. The new measures reveal a number of interesting 20th Century trends. First, 70 percent of the decline in hours worked has been offset by an increase in hours spent in school. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, average hours spent in home production are actually slightly higher now than they were in the early part of the 20th Century. Finally, leisure per capita is approximately the same now as it was in 1900 [NBER WP No. 12264].

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:546.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:546

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Keywords: leisure; work and leisure; home production; market work; commuting; schooling;

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References

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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  2. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1993. "Working in the Market, Working at Home, and the Acquisition of Skills: A General-Equilibrium Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 893-907, September.
  3. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  4. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi, 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time over the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1188-214, December.
  6. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "The U.S. Structural Transformation and Regional Convergence: A Reinterpretation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
  7. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," NBER Working Papers 12082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2006. "Trends in hours and economic growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 4462, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Siu, Henry, 2006. "The fiscal role of conscription in the US World War II effort," Economics working papers, Vancouver School of Economics siu-06-04-26-12-42-20, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 26 Apr 2006.
  10. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, July.
  11. Costa, Dora L, 2000. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 156-81, January.
  12. Philip Babcock & Mindy Marks, 2011. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 468-478, May.
  13. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2004. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 10631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "A Brief History of Education in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1990. "Sleep and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 922-43, October.
  17. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  19. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
  20. John W. Kendrick, 1973. "Postwar Productivity Trends in the United States, 1948-1969," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend73-1, July.
  21. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  22. Kristin Roberts & Peter Rupert, 1995. "The myth of the overworked American," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jan.
  23. Perli, Roberto & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1998. "Human capital formation and business cycle persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-92, June.
  24. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "Human Capital and Social Capital: The Rise of Secondary Schooling in America, 1910 to 1940," NBER Working Papers 6439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Papers and articles using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)
  2. A Century of Work and Leisure (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki

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