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

  • Almudena Sevilla Sanz
  • Jose Ignacio GImenez Nadal

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.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper374.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 374.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:374
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Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  7. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Caitlin Knowles Myers & Mark L. Pocock, 2006. "Time Zones as Cues for Coordination: Latitude, Longitude, and Letterman," NBER Working Papers 12350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006, 08.
  9. Hallberg, Daniel, 2003. "Synchronous leisure, jointness and household labor supply," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 185-203, April.
  10. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2004. "Consumption vs. Expenditure," NBER Working Papers 10307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  12. Burda, Michael C. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Weil, Philippe, 2006. "The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and US," IZA Discussion Papers 2270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. repec:ese:iserwp:2005-09 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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