1 Volume 1 Issue 1

Measuring work-life balance using time diary data

Kimberly Fisher, Richard Layte

This paper examines how time diaries facilitate the study of work-life balance. We first compare aggregate time spent in paid work, unpaid work, attending to personal needs, and free time across seven countries using the Multinational Time Use Study. We then measure the overlap of work with other activities in two ways. First, we map the timing of episodes of work over the day, and overlay these maps onto maps of leisure time. A social group can be said to have a work-life balance if their peak periods of different activities do not overlap substantially. Second, we measure the total time spent performing multiple activities at the same time, and compare periods of multi-tasking where work is the main focus while other activities occur simultaneously with multi-tasking where work occurs alongside another activity that is the main focus of the diarist’s attention. All analysis is broken down by sex and age. There are many qualifications on these results, and the results in this paper are exemplary of what can be done rather than definitive findings.

Intra-family time allocation to housework - French evidence

Dominique Anxo, Paul Carlin

We analyse new time diary data from France to explore the relationship between economic variables and husbands’ share of housework time. Consistent with both bargaining and specialization models of the family, we find that the greater the husband’s share of labor income, the lower his share of housework time; the greater the wife’s market hours, the lower his housework time, but the larger his share of housework time. Treating market work as endogenous substantially lowers the size of these estimates, but they remain statistically significant. A parsimonious specification based on the specialization model generates estimates for housework share wage elasticities. The own wage elasticity of wives’ housework is -0.3 and the elasticity of husbands’ housework share with respect to wives’ wages is +0.25.

Complexity in daily life – a 3D-visualization showing activity patterns in their contexts

Kajsa Ellegård, Matthew Cooper

This article attacks the difficulties to make well informed empirically grounded descriptions and analyses of everyday life activity patterns. At a first glance, everyday life seems to be very simple and everybody has experiences from it, but when we try to investigate it from a scientific perspective, its complexity is overwhelming. There are enormous variations in interests and activity patterns among individuals, between households and socio-economic groups in the population. Therefore, and in spite of good intentions, traditional methods and means to visualize and analyze often lead to over-simplifications. The aim of this article is to present a visualization method that might inspire social scientists to tackle the complexity of everyday life from a new angle, starting with a visual overview of the individual's time use in her daily life, subsequently aggregating to time use in her household, further at group and population levels without leaving the individual out of sight. Thereby variations and complexity might be treated as assets in the interpretation rather than obstacles. To exemplify the method we show how activities in a daily life project are distributed among household members and between men and women in a population.

Schedules as sequences: a new method to analyze the use of time based on collective rhythm with an application to the work arrangements of French dual-earner couples

Laurent Lesnard

This paper sets out a new method to analyze schedules with an application to the analysis of synchronization within dual-earner couples. The flaws of the traditional time-budget approach are brought to light: time is not a constant flux and disregarding the social dimension of time and the significance of scheduling dismantles a great part of the phenomenon analyzed. The method proposed is inspired by Optimal Matching techniques but also informed by sociological theory: it relies on information about the collective rhythm. This method is further applied to French dual-earner couples in 1985 and 1998 (enquêtes Emploi du Temps, Insee, France, N=2574): twelve work arrangements are uncovered. Six of them refer to double full time schedules days, and two to feminine partially worked days. A significant proportion (20%) of the spouses who both worked a full time schedule experiences a high degree of desynchronization (greater than 50%). A few of them are even found to be completely desynchronized. Women who worked partially the day observed are also concerned by off-scheduling: though the probability of being desynchronized is reduced, a significant number of women work while their spouses are not working. Desynchronization dramatically increased between 1985 and 1998: more spouses work more desynchronized days but desynchronization also expands in most of the days. The increase observed is particularly prominent for couples where women work partial schedules.

Examining large-scale time-use files through graphic representation

William Michelson, David Crouse

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the utility of graphic means to add to the comprehension of time-use analysis. The paper traces the development of several graphic approaches, from the logic of plotting a single case in multidimensional space to several ways of examining time-use dynamics graphically without limitations on sample size. It draws on pilot studies from the FAMITEL research project on telecommuting and extends to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey in 1998 with time-use data (GSS12). The examples of graphic development focus on aspects of the daily lives of teleworkers, to illustrate in this context how graphic representation can illuminate much-discussed differences between the complex pattern of daily life characterizing of these workers in comparison to conventional workers, regardless of the size of samples and subsamples. The graphic techniques discussed advance understanding of these phenomena by presenting visual evidence of differential patterns reflecting the interrelations between the several components of time-use as well as reflecting the different times in the day in which phenomena occur, within and between analytic subgroups. As in many other analyses, gender can be literally seen in the graphics as an important differentiating factor, even within occupational situations.


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