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A Century of Work and Leisure

  • Valerie A. Ramey
  • Neville Francis

We develop comprehensive measures of time spent in market work, home production, schooling, and leisure in the United States for the last 106 years. We find that hours of work for prime age individuals are essentially unchanged, with the rise in women's hours fully compensating for the decline in men's hours. Hours worked by those 14 to 24 years old have declined noticeably, but most of this decline was offset by a rise in hours spent in school. Overall, per capita leisure and average annual lifetime leisure increased by only four or five hours per week during the last 100 years. (JEL D13, J16, J22)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.1.2.189
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/data/2007-0035_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 189-224

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:189-224
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.1.2.189
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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  1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1990. "Sleep and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 922-43, October.
  3. John W. Kendrick, 1973. "Postwar Productivity Trends in the United States, 1948–1969," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend73-1, 07.
  4. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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, vol. 18(1), pages 156-81, January.
  6. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2008. "Trends in hours and economic growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3828, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  8. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  11. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2002. "Engines of Liberation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 2, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  12. Babcock, Phillip & Marks, Mindy, 2010. "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7rc9d7vz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  13. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi, 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time over the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1188-214, December.
  14. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kristin Roberts & Peter Rupert, 1995. "The myth of the overworked American," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jan.
  16. 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, vol. 109(3), pages 584-616, June.
  17. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. 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, vol. 83(4), pages 893-907, September.
  19. Perli, Roberto & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1998. "Human capital formation and business cycle persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-92, June.
  20. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1, 07.
  21. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  22. 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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