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Time Scarcity and the Dual Career Household: Competing Perspectives


  • Bruce Philp
  • Dan Wheatley


Since 1997, until the present, UK Government policy has increasingly acknowledged the principle of work-life balance and problems of work-time excess. The present paper contributes to our understanding of these issues via a theoretically-informed longitudinal investigation of time-use among members of an increasingly important demographic group — dual career households. The seminal approaches to work-time offered by Gary Becker, Catherine Hakim, and David Laibman are outlined, then evaluated using data extracted from the 1996 and 2008 British Household Panel Survey. Our study identifies significant, unexplained dissatisfaction with working hours for many men and women in dual career households, and that women tend to have less pure consumption time than men. This pattern does not accord well with theories of time-allocation which place great weight on preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Philp & Dan Wheatley, 2010. "Time Scarcity and the Dual Career Household: Competing Perspectives," Working Papers 2010/6, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbs:wpaper:2010/6

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    File Function: First version, 2010
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruce Philip, 2001. "Marxism, Neoclassical Economics and the Length of the Working Day," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 27-39.
    2. McDowell, Linda & Perrons, Diane & Fagan, Colette & Ray, Kath & Ward, Kevin, 2005. "The contradictions and intersections of class and gender in a global city : placing working women's lives on the research agenda," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 548, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Linda McDowell & Diane Perrons & Colette Fagan & Kath Ray & Kevin Ward, 2005. "The contradictions and intersections of class and gender in a global city: placing working women's lives on the research agenda," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(3), pages 441-461, March.
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    More about this item


    Work-Time; Household; Time-Use; Heterodox Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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