Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?

Daniel S. Hamermesh, Jungmin Lee

NBER Working Paper No. 10186
Issued in December 2003
NBER Program(s):   LS

Social commentators have pointed to problems of women workers who face time stress' an absence of sufficient time to accomplish all their tasks. An economic theory views time stress as reflecting how tightly the time constraint binds households. Time stress will be more prevalent in households with higher incomes and whose members work longer in the market or on required' homework. Evidence from Australia, Canada, Germany, Korea and the United States corroborates this view. Adults in higher-income households perceive more time stress for the same amount of time spent in market work and household work. The importance of higher full incomes in generating time stress is not small, particularly in North America much is yuppie kvetch.' While time stress is most prevalent among working wives, a decomposition suggests that women would perceive more time stress than men even if both worked the same number of hours in the market and at home.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10186

Published: Review of Economics and Statistics, vol 89, no. 2, May 2007, pp. 374-383. citation courtesy of

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