What Has Happened to the Quality of Life in the Advanced Industrialized Nations?

What Has Happened to the Quality of Life in the Advanced Industrialized Nations?

Edited by Edward N. Wolff

The contributors to this volume investigate to what extent welfare has increased in the United States over the postwar period and provide a rigorous examination of both conventional measures of the standard of living, as well as more inclusive indices. The chapters cover such topics as: race, home ownership and family structure; the status of children; the consumer price index; a historical perspective on the standard of living; worker rights and labor strength in advanced economies. In addition, they explore two economic systems delivering the goods – the free enterprise system of the United States and the European social welfare state. They then present international comparisons and highlight the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two systems.

Chapter 10: Time Intensity and Well-being: What We Can Learn from Time-use Data

Thomas L. Hungerford and Maria S. Floro

Subjects: economics and finance, welfare economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Thomas L. Hungerford and Maria S. Floro To do two things at once is to do neither. Maxim 7 (Publilius Syrus 1st Century BC) INTRODUCTION Time intensity or performing two or more tasks at a time is an important dimension of people’s well-being. It depicts the manner in which people function, particularly the way they perform their work and spend their time. After all, engagement in work – whether producing for one’s own consumption or for the market – constitutes an essential element of life. Thus any inquiry into people’s well-being must involve not only asking how much people earn to acquire goods and services, but also how they conduct their lives. But existing standard-of-living measurements fail to take account of this important qualitative dimension of time use. The possession of material goods and services – whether measured in terms of money income or real GDP per capita – still constitutes the primary basis for assessing well-being. The occurrence of ‘double day’ for working women and the incidence of time intensity have generally been validated by the results of time-use surveys. These surveys have provided one of the most useful sets of data on women’s and men’s participation in activities at home, in the labor market, and in communities. While varying in form and method of collection, timeuse surveys typically record the various activities (such as work, child care, domestic chore, leisure, travel, personal care, and sleep) in which an individual engages in a given period (usually a day) and the amount of time...

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