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Cues for Coordination: Light, Longitude and Letterman

Author

Listed:
  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

    () (Barnard College)

  • Myers, Caitlin Knowles

    () (Middlebury College)

  • Pocock, Mark L.

    () (University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

Market productivity is often greater, and leisure and other household activities more enjoyable, when people perform them simultaneously. Beyond pointing out the positive externalities of synchronicity, economists have not attempted to identify exogenous causes that affect timing. We develop a theory illustrating conditions under which synchronicity will vary and identify three factors – the amount of daylight, the timing of television programming, and the benefits of coordinating work schedules across a large country – that can alter timing. Using the American Time Use Survey for 2003 and 2004, we first show using a natural experiment that abstracts from the impacts of daylight hours and television timing that an exogenous shock to time in one area leads its residents to alter their work schedules to coordinate more closely with people elsewhere. We then show that both television timing and the benefits of coordinating across time zones in the U.S. generally affect the timing of market work and sleep, the two most time-consuming activities people undertake. These impacts do not, however, differ greatly by people's demographic characteristics, suggesting that longitude and television establish social norms that affect everyone.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Myers, Caitlin Knowles & Pocock, Mark L., 2006. "Cues for Coordination: Light, Longitude and Letterman," IZA Discussion Papers 2060, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2060
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "Timing, togetherness and time windfalls," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 601-623.
    2. Cooper,Russell, 1999. "Coordination Games," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521578967.
    3. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Osberg, Lars, 2003. "Nobody to play with? The implications of leisure coordination," ISER Working Paper Series 2003-19, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Hallberg, Daniel, 2003. "Synchronous leisure, jointness and household labor supply," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 185-203, April.
    5. Marie Connolly, 2008. "Here Comes the Rain Again: Weather and the Intertemporal Substitution of Leisure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26, pages 73-100.
    6. Weiss, Yoram, 1996. "Synchronization of Work Schedules," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 157-179, February.
    7. Russell Cooper & John Haltiwanger, 1993. "Automobiles and the National Industrial Recovery Act: Evidence on Industry Complementarities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1043-1071.
    8. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jay Stewart, 2010. "The Timing of Maternal Work and Time with Children," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 181-200, October.
    2. Jay Stewart & Mary Dorinda Allard, 2008. "How Does Employment Affect the Timing of Time with Children?," Working Papers 419, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor supply; synchronous activities; time use; time zones;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination

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