A Century of Work and Leisure

50 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2006 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Valerie A. Ramey

Valerie A. Ramey

University of California at San Diego; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Neville Francis

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Ramey, Valerie A. and Francis, Neville, A Century of Work and Leisure (May 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12264, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=905521

Valerie A. Ramey (Contact Author)

University of California at San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
858-534-2388 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Neville Francis

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
121
Abstract Views
4,143
rank
288,121
PlumX Metrics