Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=888284
 
 

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Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades


Erik Hurst


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mark Aguiar


University of Rochester - Department of Economics

March 2006

NBER Working Paper No. w12082

Abstract:     
In this paper, we use five decades of time-use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We find that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working-age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we show that leisure for men increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Alternatively, the "consumption equivalent" of the increase in leisure is valued at 8 to 9 percent of total 2003 U.S. consumption expenditures. We also find that leisure increased during the last 40 years for a number of sub-samples of the population, with less-educated adults experiencing the largest increases. Lastly, we document a growing "inequality" in leisure that is the mirror image of the growing inequality of wages and expenditures, making welfare calculation based solely on the latter series incomplete.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 66

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Date posted: May 11, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Hurst, Erik and Aguiar, Mark, Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades (March 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12082. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=888284

Contact Information

Erik Hurst (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Mark Aguiar
University of Rochester - Department of Economics ( email )
Harkness Hall
Rochester, NY 14627
United States
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