IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Time Packages and Their Effect on Life Satisfaction


  • Marina Della Giusta

    () (School of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Zella King

    () (School of Management, University of Reading)


The expected response of individuals to policy changes usually requires that they use their resources in a different way, according to the changed relative opportunity cost of undertaking each that the policy effects. However, it has often been noted that the allocation of time to different activities does not respond smoothly, and rather appears to be influenced by a range of non economic factors that lead to opportunity costs and trade-offs being different for different individuals, depending not just on the constraints they face, but also on the activities they are already 'specialised' at. In this paper we use the British Household Panel Survey to examine how time packages - the allocation of weekly hours to a combination of paid and unpaid work and leisure - affect life satisfaction, and the marginal returns from additional hours spent in paid work, overtime, caring and housework. We observe that for men in general, the marginal benefits of an additional hour of paid work, or extra work (in the form of overtime or a second job) are positive, while an additional hour of caring has a negative effect on life satisfaction. For men who are leisure rich, however, the marginal benefits of an additional hour of housework are positive. Leisure rich men appear to gain satisfaction from doing housework, in a way that other men do not. The same applies to women. Women are in general less satisfied by taking on overtime or second jobs, presumably preferring to use that discretionary time at home in leisure pursuits or with children. For women doing full-time paid work, the marginal effect of an additional hour of extra work (overtime or a second job) is negative; for women already stretched by full-time paid work, extra hours are an unwelcome burden. We discuss the role that different kinds of constraints, including gender attitudes, play in determining our results and the implications for policy design.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Della Giusta & Zella King, 2010. "Time Packages and Their Effect on Life Satisfaction," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2010-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2010-03

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Gregg & Susan Harkness & Sarah Smith, 2009. "Welfare Reform and Lone Parents in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 38-65, February.
    2. Joni Hersch, 2009. "Home production and wages: evidence from the American Time Use Survey," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 159-178, June.
    3. Rania Antonopoulos, 2008. "The Unpaid Care Work–Paid Work Connection," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_541, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Mike Brewer & Marco Francesconi & Paul Gregg & Jeffrey Grogger, 2009. "Feature: In-work Benefit Reform in a Cross-National Perspective - Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 1-14, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    happiness; time use;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2010-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie Pearson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.