Edited by Edward N. Wolff
Chapter 10: Time Intensity and Well-being: What We Can Learn from Time-use Data
10. Time intensity and well-being: what we can learn from time-use data 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...
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