Patterns of Time Use Among Older People
We analyze time use studies to describe how people allocate their time as they age, especially among paid work, unpaid work, leisure, and personal care. We emphasize differences in time allocation between older (i.e., those aged 65+) and younger people; between developed and developing countries; and by other demographic characteristics such as gender, marital status, health status, and educational attainment. We summarize related economic literature and crystallize a framework for thinking about key conceptual issues involving time allocation over the life cycle. We conclude by assessing the adequacy of global data resources in this area and by discussing some promising opportunities to fill salient gaps in the literature.
The authors thank Gretchen Donehower for helpful discussions and Shen Ke for sharing data on time use in China. The authors also acknowledge general support for work on this article from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P30AG024409, a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Value of Vaccination Research Network based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This paper was prepared for the Handbook of the Economics of Ageing (forthcoming) edited by David E. Bloom, Alfonso Sousa-Poza and Uwe Sunde, and published by Routledge. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
JP Sevilla has consulted for and performed research funded by vaccine and medical device manufacturers, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization.