2 Volume 6 Issue 2

Time use research in Canada – History, critique, perspectives

Jiri Zuzanek

The article examines methodological and substantial problems faced by Canadian time use research. It assesses the gains and the limitations of this research from a historical and comparative perspectives.

Harvey’s hypercodes and the “Propogram” – More than 24 hours per day?

Jonathan Gershuny

In the 1980s, Harvey originated the key concept for the representation of multiple simultaneous activities without violating the constraint of the 24-hourday – the "hypercode". This implements his conceptual innovation in the context of childcare, and suggests a means of graphical representation.

Timing and fragmentation of daily working hours arrangements and income inequality – An earnings treatment effects approach with German time use diary data

Joachim Merz, Paul Böhm, Derik Burgert

Traditional well-being analyses based on money income needs to be broadened by its time dimension. In the course of time the traditional full-time work is diminishing and new labour arrangements are discussed (keyword: flexible labour markets) with consequences on the daily work arrangements. Our study is contributing to the research on economic well-being and working hours arrangements by adding insights into particular daily work effort characteristics and its resulting income distribution. The work effort characteristics we regard is about labour market flexibility with focus on relations between the daily timing of work and its fragmentation, and its consequences on the income distribution. Whereas the first part of our study is describing the distribution of timing and fragmentation of daily work time and its resulting income based on more than 35.000 diaries of the most recent German Time Budget Survey 2001/2002, the second part of our study quantifies determinants of arrangement specific earnings functions detecting significant explanatory patterns of what is behind. The related economic theory is a human capital approach in a market and non-market context, extended by non-market time use, the partner’s working condition, social networking as well as household and regional characteristics. The econometrics use a treatment effects type interdependent estimation of endogenous participation in a daily working hour pattern (self-selection) and pattern specific earnings function explanation. The overall result: Individual earnings in Germany are dependent on and significant different with regard to the daily working hours arrangement capturing timing and fragmentation of work. Market and non-market factors are important and significant in explaining participation and earnings thereof.

Estimating household production outputs with time use episode data

Duncan Ironmonger, Faye Soupourmas

It is not widely recognised that diary-based surveys of time use contain data not only on ‘input’ time but also on ‘output’ time. The diaries record episodes of time use throughout the day showing activities that can be categorised not only as household production input time, such as preparing a meal, but also household output (or consumption) time such as eating a meal. Harvey and Mukhopadhyay (1996) seem to have been the first to use the methodology of counting output episodes from time use surveys to estimate and value household production outputs. Using episode data from the 1992 Canadian time use survey, they counted the number of meals, the hours of child care and the nights of accommodation. Our paper explores the application of this methodology to the episode data from Australian time use surveys. We extend the outputs to include episodes of transport provided by households. This is in accord with the Eurostat recommendation to include transport as a final output in the preparation of satellite accounts of household production.

Variations in the rational use of time – The travel pulse of commutes between home and job

William Michelson

Ian Cullen and his research colleagues long ago suggested that people form habits in daily life that suboptimize behavior in view of constraints. Such rational suboptimization is posited here to apply to trips between home and work and to vary by time of the day. Previous research suggests that afternoons prove more difficult for people than mornings, with rush hour traffic patterns shown as one aspect. This paper contrasts with episode level data from Statistics Canada’s 2005 time-use survey the temporal pattern (shown as a “travel pulse”) of weekday commutes between home and job by full-time workers with external workplaces. The mean trip duration in the morning is less than in the afternoon, as is its standard deviation. This is rooted in a visibly greater dispersion of rational starting times from home in the morning with arrival at work at various times in advance of the start to the formal work day, while, in the afternoon, people typically depart from work directly at externally-determined closing times and in concentrated peaks. The result is that nearly twice the number of commuters set out at the same time during the afternoons than in the mornings. The less than individually-rational intensity of the afternoon commuting context is compounded by the concentration of everyday shopping stops during the afternoon commute. Mode of travel accounts for significantly different mean trip times, but differences in trip duration by time of day transcend travel mode. Differences by gender interact with mode of travel but are not generally significant. The rich legacy established by Andrew Harvey is apparent, as he has been an influential shaper and advocate of the Statistics Canada’s time-use surveys, the use of such data for transportation analyses, and a focus on episode-level analysis.

Sharing of task and lifestyle among aged couples

Iiris Niemi

Family is often thought of as an efficient work unit where tasks are apportioned and shared among the workers. This paper studies the sharing of domestic work in aged families. Do spouses divide tasks between them more evenly than in the middle years now that they have more time? The findings of the Finnish Time Use Survey in 1999/2000 did not support such presumptions about task sharing. The wife of a man who spends a lot of time on domestic work also does a lot of it, both in the middle years and in retirement. Same types of chores, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, home maintenance or helping another household, are done on the same days. Even in retirement, the wife does the lion’s share of domestic work, although certain evening out does happen. The lifestyle of these families is more consistent in free-time activities than in domestic work. The spouses have adopted similar hobbies both at home and outside it. Instead of pursuing their personal choice, they engage in the same hobbies as their spouse. This change begins before the retirement age, for the similarity in time use begins to show clearly already among middle-aged couples.

Senioritis in repose

John P. Robinson, Andrew Caporaso

Media and other accounts of life after retirement suggest it to be “The Golden Years” of life, when the elderly have true leisure in the classic sense of freedom from responsibilities of work. However, like earlier time-diary studies, data from the 2003-07 Americans Time Use Project (ATUS) indicate that the great majority of seniors’ extra 20+ hours of free time is concentrated on three activities – TV, reading and rest. Only a few more hours are spent on sleep. Despite reports of increased work time among seniors, relatively few of those in Andy’s new age bracket remain in the labor force and they work fewer hours.

How many days? A comparison of the quality of time-use data from 2-day and 7-day diaries

Joeri Minnen, Ignace Glorieux

Time budget studies differ in the number of diary days. The ‘Guidelines on Harmonized European Time-Use Surveys (HETUS)’ issued by EUROSTAT recommend a two-day diary with both one weekday and one weekend day. In this contribution we examine whether the number of diary days has an effect on the quality of timeuse indicators. A lot of time-use researchers plead for a longer period of observation; some of them even argue that one- or two-day diaries are not very valuable since the high demands of scientific research cannot be accomplished unless multi-day cycles are captured. Longer periods of observation offer better prospects for analyses, especially for the study of rhythms and activity patterns which typically follow cycles of multi-day duration, and which are part of daily life. Other authors however point out that longer periods of observation cause fatigue or diminished motivation and thus will lead to more inaccuracies. In this contribution we use the pooled Flemish time budget data from 1999 and 2004 to compare 7-day diaries with the 2-day diaries as recommended by the EUROSTAT-guidelines. The respondents of the Flemish time use surveys all filled in diaries for 7 consecutive days. To simulate the 2-day registration, we randomly selected one weekday and one weekend day for each respondent. The 2-day selection was compared with the original 7-day registration. The aim of this comparison is to inventory the advantages and disadvantages of the 2-day and 7-day registration method. To do that, we compare different indicators, such as the averages and the standard deviations of the duration of several activities. We further examine whether certain types of activities are more affected by the method of registration than others. Finally we examine whether a longer period of registration negatively affects the quality of the data (less detail and less accurate).