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A Century of Work and Leisure

  • Neville Francis
  • Valerie A. Ramey


    (Economics University of California, San Diego)

Has leisure increased over the last century? Standard measures of hours worked suggest that it has. In this paper, we develop a comprehensive measure of non-leisure hours that includes market work, home production, commuting and schooling for the last 105 years. We also present empirical and theoretical arguments for a definition of “per capita†that encompasses the entire population. The new measures reveal a number of interesting 20th Century trends. First, 70 percent of the decline in hours worked has been offset by an increase in hours spent in school. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, average hours spent in home production are actually slightly higher now than they were in the early part of the 20th Century. Finally, leisure per capita is approximately the same now as it was in 1900 [NBER WP No. 12264].

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 250.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:250
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  21. Lomborg,Bjørn, 2001. "The Skeptical Environmentalist," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521010689.
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  1. A Century of Work and Leisure (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki
  2. Papers and articles using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)

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