Keeping in touch – A benefit of public holidays using time use diary data

Joachim Merz, Lars Osberg

Public holidays, social contacts, social leisure time, time allocation, time use diaries, German Time Budget Survey 2001/02

This paper argues that public holidays facilitate the co-ordination of leisure time but do not constrain the annual amount of leisure. Public holidays therefore have benefits both in the utility of leisure on holidays and (by enabling people to maintain social contacts more easily) in increasing the utility of leisure on normal weekdays and weekends. The paper uses the variation in public holidays across German Länder based on more than 37.000 individual diary data of the actual German Time Use Survey of 2001-02 to illustrate the positive association between more public holidays and social life on normal weekdays and weekends. These benefits are additional to the other, direct benefits of public holidays.