International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 20: Immigrants’ time use: a survey of methods and evidence

David C. Ribar


Models of people’s time use – principally the standard labor and human capital models but also more general time allocation models – are at the heart of economists’ theories of immigrants’ behavior. However, time use has taken a back seat to other outcomes in empirical economic research on immigrants. Economic research has focused on outcomes that can be measured in terms of money, such as incomes, earnings, wage rates, public assistance benefits, tax payments and remittances. Except for hours devoted to work, immigrants’ time allocations have been at the center of only a few economic studies. Immigrants’ uses of time have been studied by anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, family researchers and health researchers. With the recent availability of large-scale time-use surveys, economists have also started to examine time use more comprehensively and make their own contributions. To continue that advancement, this chapter discusses a host of research avenues related to immigrants’ time use. It reviews several economic models of people’s time allocations and discusses their application to immigrant behavior.

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