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A Note on Leisure Inequality in the US: 1965-2003

Author

Listed:
  • Almudena Sevilla Sanz
  • Jose Ignacio GImenez Nadal

Abstract

Despite the well-documented increase in the relative wages and expenditures of highly-educated individuals in the U.S. in recent decades, leisure inequality mirrors inequality of wages, i.e. we observe that highly-educated individuals have now relatively less leisure time than lower-educated individuals. What are the implications for evaluating individual welfare? This paper moves beyond the current published research, which has mostly concentrated on total time spent in leisure, and exploits the nature of diary data in the American Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS), to provide a complementary angle to this question. We look not just at the quantity of leisure (measured as total leisure time) but also at the quality of leisure for different education groups. We provide several indicators to measure the quality of leisure, such as the number of leisure episodes, whether leisure is undertaken with the spouse and/or other adults, and whether leisure is combined with other non-leisure activities. We find that, although leisure time is greater now for less-educated individuals relative to highly-educated individuals, the quality of leisure is higher for highly-educated individuals. This finding is consistent with a model of quality-quantity of leisure, where individuals substitute quality for quantity as their income rises.

Suggested Citation

  • Almudena Sevilla Sanz & Jose Ignacio GImenez Nadal, 2007. "A Note on Leisure Inequality in the US: 1965-2003," Economics Series Working Papers 374, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:374
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper374.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alan B. Krueger & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur A. Stone, 2009. "National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 9-86 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alan B. Krueger & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Norbert Schwarz & Arthur A. Stone, 2008. "National Time Accounting: The Currency of Life," Working Papers 1061, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Leisure; Inequality; Income; Wages; Consumption; Time-Use; Time Budgets;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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