NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Are We Not Doing When We're Online

Scott Wallsten

NBER Working Paper No. 19549
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s):   PR

The Internet has radically transformed the way we live our lives. The net changes in consumer surplus and economic activity, however, are difficult to measure because some online activities, such as obtaining news, are new ways of doing old activities while new activities, like social media, have an opportunity cost in terms of activities crowded out. This paper uses data from the American Time Use Survey from 2003 - 2011 to estimate the crowdout effects of leisure time spent online. That data show that time spent online and the share of the population engaged in online activities has been increasing steadily. I find that, on the margin, each minute of online leisure time is correlated with 0.29 fewer minutes on all other types of leisure, with about half of that coming from time spent watching TV and video, 0.05 minutes from (offline) socializing, 0.04 minutes from relaxing and thinking, and the balance from time spent at parties, attending cultural events, and listening to the radio. Each minute of online leisure is also correlated with 0.27 fewer minutes working, 0.12 fewer minutes sleeping, 0.10 fewer minutes in travel time, 0.07 fewer minutes in household activities, and 0.06 fewer minutes in educational activities.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19549

Forthcoming: What Are We Not Doing When We're Online?, Scott Wallsten. in Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, Goldfarb, Greenstein, and Tucker. 2014

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Wallsten What Are We Not Doing When We're Online?
Athey, Calvano, and Gans w19419 The Impact of the Internet on Advertising Markets for News Media
Feenberg w0000 NBER WORKING PAPERS ONLINE TEST DOCUMENT
Gorodnichenko, Song, and Stolyarov w19638 Macroeconomic Determinants of Retirement Timing
Crossley and Winter w19543 Asking Households About Expenditures: What Have We Learned?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us