Togetherness: Spouses' Synchronous Leisure, and the Impact of Children
NBER Working Paper No. 7455
This study goes beyond the immense literature on the quantity of labor that households supply to examine the timing of their labor/leisure choices. Using two-year panels from the United States in the 1970s it demonstrates that couples prefer to consume leisure simultaneously: Synchronization is greater than random male-female pairing would predict. In the 1970s the demand for joint leisure among working couples was more responsive to increases in wives' earnings than to husbands', but by the 1990s the responses were identical. Couples react to changes in constraints on them by altering their schedules to preserve joint leisure, and those with higher full incomes consume more of their leisure jointly. Children reduce the jointness of spouses' leisure, with the greatest change in schedules occurring among new mothers.
Published: "Timing, Togetherness and Time Windfalls" Hamermesh, Daniel S.; Journal of Population Economics, November 2002, v. 15, iss. 4, pp. 601-23