A Century of Work and Leisure
Valerie A. Ramey
University of California at San Diego; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics
NBER Working Paper No. w12264
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 %u201Cper capita%u201D 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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50working papers series
Date posted: June 1, 2006
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