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Time Zones as Cues for Coordination: Latitude, Longitude, and Letterman

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Caitlin Knowles Myers
  • Mark L. Pocock

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 determinants of timing. We develop a theory illustrating conditions under which synchronicity will vary and identify three factors %u2014 the amount of daylight, the timing of television programming, and differences in time zones %u2014 that can alter timing. Using the American Time Use Survey for 2003 and 2004, we first show that an exogenous shock to time in one area due to non-adherence to daylight-saving time leads its residents to alter their work schedules to continue coordinating their activities with those of people elsewhere. With time use data from Australia, we also demonstrate the same response to a similar shock there. 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. While these impacts do not differ greatly by people's demographic characteristics, workers in industries where we would expect more coordination outside of their local areas are more responsive to the effects of time zones.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12350.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12350.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Publication status: published as "Cues for Timing and Coordination: Latitude, Letterman, and Longitude" Journal of Labor Economics, 2008, vol 26, no. 2 pp. 223-246.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12350
Note: LS
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  1. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Osberg, Lars, 2003. "Nobody to Play With? The Implications of Leisure Coordination," IZA Discussion Papers 850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1999. "Crime and the Timing of Work," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 311-330, March.
  3. Federico Ciliberto & Elie Tamer, 2009. "Market Structure and Multiple Equilibria in Airline Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1791-1828, November.
  4. Lisa A. Kramer & Mark J. Kamstra & Maurice D. Levi, 2000. "Losing Sleep at the Market: The Daylight Saving Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1005-1011, September.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521070928 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. 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.
  7. Hallberg, Daniel, 2003. "Synchronous leisure, jointness and household labor supply," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 185-203, April.
  8. 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 157-79, February.
  9. Cooper, Russell & Haltiwanger, John, 1993. "Automobiles and the National Industrial Recovery Act: Evidence on Industry Complementarities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1043-71, November.
  10. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Reiss, Peter C., 1991. "Empirical models of discrete games," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1-2), pages 57-81.
  11. 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.
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