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No. 06‐2 Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time over Five Decades

By Mark Aguiar, Erik Hurst, Derek Neal, Valerie Ramey, Richard Rogerson and Frank Stafford


In this paper, we use five decades of time‐use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We document 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 document 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. 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

Year: 2013
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