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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh


Routine - maintaining the same schedule from day to day - saves time. It is also boring and inherently undesirable. As such, the amount of routine a person engages in is partly an economic outcome, with variations in routine generated by variations in the price of time, household income and the ability to generate variety. Using time-budget data from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, I show that men engage in more routine behavior than women, but only because they spend more time in (routine) market work. Other things equal, more educated people engage in less routine behavior, while higher household incomes enable people to purchase more temporal variety. Spouses' temporal routines are highly complementary. The positive income effects and impacts of schooling indicate yet another avenue by which standard measures of inequality understate total economic inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2003. "Routine," NBER Working Papers 9440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9440
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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Reuben Gronau & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2008. "The Demand for Variety: A Household Production Perspective," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 562-572, August.
    3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "Changing Inequality in Markets for Workplace Amenities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1085-1123.
    4. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1999. "The Timing of Work over Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 37-66, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Charles Brown, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-134.
    7. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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