NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Time Use During Recessions

Mark A. Aguiar, Erik Hurst, Loukas Karabarbounis

NBER Working Paper No. 17259
Issued in July 2011
NBER Program(s):   AG   EFG   LS   PE

We use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), covering both the recent recession and the pre-recessionary period, to explore how foregone market work hours are allocated to other activities over the business cycle. Given the short time series, it is hard to distinguish business cycle effects from low frequency trends by simply comparing time spent on a given category prior to the recession with time spent on that category during the recession. Instead, we identify the business cycle effects on time use using cross state variation with respect to the severity of the recessions. We find that roughly 30% to 40% of the foregone market work hours are allocated to increased home production. Additionally, 30% of the foregone hours are allocated to increased sleep time and increased television watching. Other leisure activities absorb 20% of the foregone market work hours. We use our evidence from the ATUS to calibrate and test the predictions of workhorse macroeconomic models with home production. We show that the quantitative implications of these models regarding the allocation of time over the business cycle matches reasonably well the actual behavior of households.

download in pdf format
   (305 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the November 2011 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (305 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17259

Published: “Time Use During the Great Recession ,” (with Erik Hurst and Loukas Karabarbounis ), American Economic Review , August 2013 .

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Frankel w17239 Over-optimism in Forecasts by Official Budget Agencies and Its Implications
Colman and Dave w17406 Exercise, Physical Activity, and Exertion over the Business Cycle
Anderson and Auffhammer w17170 Pounds that Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight
Finkelstein, Taubman, Wright, Bernstein, Gruber, Newhouse, Allen, Baicker, and Study Group w17190 The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year
Abramitzky and Lavy w17093 How Responsive is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Redistribution Policies and in Returns
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us