1 Volume 12 Issue 1

Spousal influence in time use – On book reading, highbrow culture attendance and computer use

Timo Toivonen

Spousal influence on time use has been studied quite intensively in the context of domestic work. Spousal influence means how the properties or behavior of a spouse affect the other spouse's behavior. However spousal influence studies on time use in leisure time are very rare. This research focuses on just that. The general hypothesis was that the power of spousal influence is dependent on the type of leisure activity in question. Three different types of leisure activities were investigated. They were: book reading, visiting more or less high culture places, or attendance at high culture events, and computer use. Data came from two recent Finnish time use surveys from the years 1999-2000 and 2009-2010. General univariate linear models were used as the method. It was found that spousal influence was very strong in high culture attendance, remarkable in book reading, and non-existent in computer use. It was also evident that a person’s age and education increased spousal effect in time devoted to highbrow culture.

The great recession and unpaid work time in the United States – Does poverty matter?

Tamar Khitarishvili, Kijong Kim

Using the 2003–12 American Time Use Survey, this paper establishes the presence of poverty-based differences in the changes in household production time of men and women during the Great Recession, contributing to our understanding of the heterogeneous impact of recession on the well-being of individuals. We find that poor men’s unpaid work time increased whereas nonpoor men’s unpaid work time decreased. Among women, only nonpoor women reduced their unpaid work time. We examine the forces behind these changes using the Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions. The decompositions reveal that poverty-based differences can be partially attributed to shifts in the structure of households whereas gender-based differences to shifts in own and spousal employment status. Nevertheless, sizable portions of the changes in unpaid work time remain unexplained by the shifting individual and household characteristics. The analysis of the unexplained portion of the changes supports the assertion that poverty matters to the adjustments in unpaid work time.

Double advantage or disadvantage? – Parental education and children's developmental stages in Italy

Marit Rebane

How do couples with different educational backgrounds alter their child care practices according to child development stages? In order to answer, I analyse the 2002 and 2008 waves of the Italian Time Use Survey. The subsample for this paper consists of heterosexual Italian couples with at least one child from age 0 to 13 years living at home (N=19,988). I differentiate between physical care, play, and teaching which are all key activities fostering child development at various developmental stages. An education gradient characterises the child care of two parents with tertiary education, emerging for physical care during workdays as well as for physical care and play during week-ends. A developmental gradient is evident in the child care of parents with tertiary and secondary education who have greater probability to invest time in physical care and play when children are below age 5 compared to two parents with less than secondary education. In educationally heterogamous couples, the parent with higher educational attainment spends more time in primary childcare than he/she would do in an educationally homogamous partnership. Having more than one child in family brings along a trade off between play and teaching. A son increases the probability of physical care, and play. Families where mother is not employed spend slightly more time in primary child care compared to families where mothers work. If small children attend pre-school care centres, they receive no less parental child care during workdays than children who stay at home.

Working around the clock? – The time and location of paid work in Finland 1979-2010

Satu Ojala, Pasi Pyöriä

This article draws on Finnish time use data spanning the past three decades (1979–2010) with a focus on the prevalence of wage and salary earners’ work at different locations, namely at the employer’s facilities, at home, outside the home or the main place of work, and on the move. The diary data (N = 13,277) depicts respondents’ time budgets in ten minute intervals around the clock. According to the results, work practices have remained surprisingly conventional. Although the absolute time spent at the respondents’ main place of work has been decreasing, the vast majority of employees still work at their employer’s facilities during normal business hours, lending no support to the 24/7 working society thesis. However, during a standard working week, alternating between different business facilities has become more common than before, pointing to the growing importance of distributed work arrangements. The data also shows that the share of employees working on days off has not increased, but this kind of activity has lengthened over the years by those who do it, implying that the burden of working time is divided more unevenly than before.

Love and retirement – Older couples’ leisure time before and after retirement

Jens Bonke

The paper investigates older spouses’ individual and joint leisure time before and after retirement. To identify the impact of retirement on individual and joint leisure time, we use a regression discontinuity approach with the official retirement age as the instrument. The sample consists of 55-74-year-old married or cohabiting men and women and data stem from the Danish Time-Use and Consumption Survey and administrative registers at Statistics Denmark. We find that spouses’ simultaneous retirement has the same impact on joint leisure time as does non-simultaneous retirement. Further, there is no impact of a partner’s retirement on men and women’s own leisure time. Joint and individual leisure time, however, increases when she retires, while his retirement has no impact on the couple’s joint leisure time.

Automobile accessibility and the allocation of time 1990-2010

Martin Brosnan, David M. Levinson

Using detailed travel surveys conducted by the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul region for 1990, 2000-2001, and 2010-2011, this study analyzes journey-to-work times, activity allocation, and accessibility for automobile commuters. The analysis shows declines in the time people spent outside of their homes and in travel. Although distances per trip are increasing for workers, they are declining for non-workers. The number of trips is declining, resulting in less distance traveled and less time allocated to travel. This study finds accessibility to be a significant factor in commute durations. Accessibility and commute duration have large affects on the amount of time spent at work. We posit this is due to increased home-work blending.

Cruising through the millennium – 2003-13 changes in American daily life

John P. Robinson, Elena Tracy

The aim of this research is to examine recent US national time-diary data for evidence of an accelerating pace of everyday life in society, based on diary self-reports of how Americans spend their time since 1965. Earlier such diary studies had documented declines in women’s housework, increases in parental child care and overall gains in free time. These trends stood in marked contrast to the increased time pressure cited by societal critics of the style of life in the US and other Western countries. Since 2003, the US government’s American Time-Use Survey (ATUS), now conducted continuously by the US Bureau of the Census, has asked more than 145,000 Americans how they spent their time. Analysis of these 2003-2013 ATUS diaries reveals rather minimal change over this first millennial decade, with about an hour’s decline in both paid work and domestic work/shopping, as in previous decades mainly among women. Unlike previous studies, that decline included about a 30% decline in help to neighbors and members of other households, a key indicator of the country’s social safety net. These declines in productive and other more pressured activity were offset by small gains in less pressured activities, like sleep and TV viewing. There was also a notable decline in reported travel activities, particularly by automobile. The 2010 ATUS also began asking how these respondents felt during their diary activities, with results generally consistent with less-pressured lifestyles and earlier measures.


New developments in time technology – projects, data, computing and services