Leisure time is growing, and becoming more unequal

Julie Schor and others have spread the myth that people have less leisure time than before.  Here is yet another smackdown of that claim:

In this paper, we use five decades of time-use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We find that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working-age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we show that leisure for men increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Alternatively, the "consumption equivalent" of the increase in leisure is valued at 8 to 9 percent of total 2003 U.S. consumption expenditures. We also find that leisure increased during the last 40 years for a number of sub-samples of the population, with less-educated adults experiencing the largest increases. Lastly, we document a growing "inequality" in leisure that is the mirror image of the growing inequality of wages and expenditures, making welfare calculation based solely on the latter series incomplete.

Here is the paper, and the link.

Comments

I'd suspected that people had at least as much leisure time, just based on the increasing length of fantasy series.

If people have so little leisure time, wouldn't we be seeing the revival of the short story instead of 700 page novels making up series of indefinite length?

I wonder if people could be having less leisure time individually even while average leisure time is increasing:
http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2006/04/leisure_time_pe.html

If we decide to enjoy the journey, work can be as enjoyable and relaxing as leisure time...

As for the length of fantasy series... I am still waiting to read book 11 of the wheel of time =o)

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