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No Time to Lose? Time Constraints and Physical Activity

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  • John Mullahy
  • Stephanie A. Robert

Abstract

Although individuals are all endowed with the same time budgets, time use patterns differ owing to heterogeneity in preferences and constraints. In today's health policy arena there is considerable discussion about how to improve health outcomes by increasing levels of physical activity. In this paper, we explore how individuals endowed with different levels of human capital allocate time to physically-demanding activities that we characterize as health-producing behaviors. Our data are drawn from multiple years of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which are based on daily time use diaries and include information on detailed physical activity time uses. Since ATUS time use categories are mutually exclusive and exhaustive -- i.e. "multitasking" is not accommodated -- we employ a novel econometric share equation techniques to enforce the adding-up requirement that time use is constrained to 1,440 minutes per day. We find that differential human capital endowments result in different manifestations of how time is used to produce health. While more-educated individuals, e.g., sleep much less than less-educated individuals, they utilize some of the time so liberated to exercise and work more. We find as well that various features of individuals' environments, broadly defined, play important roles in time allocation decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14513.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Publication status: published as Review of Economics of the Household December 2010, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 409-432 No time to lose: time constraints and physical activity in the production of health John Mullahy, Stephanie A. Robert
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14513

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Cited by:
  1. Xavier Pautrel, 2009. "Health-enhancing Activities and the Environment: How Competition for Resources Makes the Environmental Policy Beneficial," Working Papers 2009.111, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Melayne M. McInnes & Judith A. Shinogle, 2011. "Physical Activity: Economic and Policy Factors," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 249-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Holger Breinlich & Stefan Niemann, 2011. "Channels of Firm Adjustment: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Economics Discussion Papers 697, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Lakdawalla, Darius N. & Seabury, Seth A., 2012. "The welfare effects of medical malpractice liability," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 356-369.
  5. Holger Breinlich & Stefan Niemann & Edna Solomon, 2010. "A Portrait of firm Expansion and Contraction Channels," Economics Discussion Papers 693, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  6. Jorge González-Chapela, 2010. "Things that make us different: analysis of variance in the use of time," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-18, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).

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