1 Volume 7 Issue 1

Children’s housework – Are girls more active than boys?

Jens Bonke

This paper examines boys’ and girls’ housework in a Nordic welfare state which is characterized by both high labor market participation rates for mothers and fathers and a narrow income distribution which makes it expensive for ordinary parents to hire paid household help. We use data from the European Community Household Panel Survey 1998 and run tobit-regressions to take the number of children reporting no housework into consideration. The results show that children do only a minor part of the total housework, and that boys participate less than girls. There is a positive impact of mothers’ full time work on children’s housework, while mothers having a higher education level decrease boys’ participation in housework. Finally, the time children spend on paid work is found more positively correlated with girls’ than with boys’ contributions to housework.

Value of housework time and changes in traditional economic well-being in Finland in 1979-2000

Paivi Mattila-Wiro

The paper looks at the change, the level and the structure of income distribution and distribution of consumption possibilities at the individual and at the household level between the years 1979 and 2000. I also pay attention to the development of low incomes when the concept of income is expanded to include a monetary measurement of household production. The paper uses Time Use Data, collected by Statistics Finland in 1979, 1987-1988 and 1999-2000. I find that consumption possibilities are more equally distributed than money income. Household production increases the consumption possibilities of all income groups but its effect is most significant in the low income decile groups. As a share of consumption possibilities, household production forms a significantly more important part for low income households than for high income households. By looking at consumption possibilities we can see a different distribution of economic well-being compared to distribution offered by money income measurement alone.

What do we mean by multitasking? – Exploring the need for methodological clarification in time use research

Susan Kenyon

We can learn a lot about society by knowing how people spend their time during the typical day. However, inconsistency in the recording of time use, specifically, in how we record details of people’s participation in more than one activity at a time (“multitasking”), may be preventing full understanding of how people use their time in their everyday lives. It is not clear what “we” – as academics, survey designers and participants – mean by “multitasking”. This may be affecting the reliability and validity of recorded multitasking. In consequence, we may not know what we think we know about time use, with implications for “knowledge” in a wide range of academic disciplines and policy areas. This paper begins by presenting examples of popular use of the term “multitasking”, taken from a national (GB) survey, illustrating a diversity of understanding of the term amongst participants. Next, analysis of selected time use diaries highlights the impacts of this diversity in meaning for interparticipant and inter-survey consistency and therefore for reliability and validity. Finally, the paper raises a number of questions regarding the meaning of multitasking, with reference to its conceptualisation in selected academic papers. The paper identifies an important gap in the research literature, illustrating a need for methodological investigation in time use research, to enhance our understanding of the meaning of multitasking and therefore to enhance the comparability, reliability and validity of time use studies.

Sleep as a victim of the “time crunch” – A multinational analysis

John P. Robinson, William Michelson

As reflected in many popular and academic writings, there is general concern that contemporary life is becoming ruled by a societal “time crunch”, in which work and family pressures make daily life more hectic. One implication of this condition is that sleep time has been reduced in order to accommodate these pressures. While this view seems supported by recent national surveys in which Americans now claim to get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, it is not supported by sleep times reported in 2003-07 ATUS time diaries. If anything, time-diary sleep hours are higher than in previous decades, approaching 60 hours a week in both the US and Canada. Similar levels of sleep hours are found in 18 European counties, with most of those having trend data also showing no decrease in sleep over recent decades, with the exceptions of Germany and Japan. The major predictors of sleep time in US and Canada are work hours and, increasingly, education. The US-Canada finding that women sleep slightly more than men is mainly a reflection of these two predictors. Higher sleep for women is also found in more Northern and Western European countries, but not in more Eastern and Southern Europe; moreover, men in Japan, the country with by far the least sleep report more diary hours of sleep than women.


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