Money and socio-economic time accounts. This project involves the macro-level extension of household accounts, with the objective of providing a combined monetary and time based system of national accounts. This work is a part of the ESRC-funded Developing the Centre for Time Use Research (grant RES-060-25-0037).
The theoretical framework is provided in Gershuny (2008; under review). Traditional household extension accounts have relied on input methods: time use diaries are used to identify time devoted by households to the various categories of unpaid work, which are then attributed a value. Output methods, in which household consumption events are counted and valued by market equivalents are technically preferable and enable the non-circular estimation of, for example, domestic productivity (the rate of domestic output per hour of unpaid labour). Measurement of such outputs has been an interest of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), and an alternative to estimates of the money value of labour or consumption focuses on the value of the time spent in that labour or consumption activity.
An empirical example using the UK 2000 HETUS survey draws on previous research carried out by the ONS to place a monetary value on the time spent in both formally organized and informal voluntary work. Modelling adjusting for time spent in other activities, it is shown that while median wage rates for formal voluntary work are greater than those for informal helping, the latter is greater in frequency and duration and therefore more economically valuable from the societal perspective. The finding has implications for gender and citizenship issues since it is the highly educated who spend more time on formally organised voluntary work while the less qualified, particularly women, spend more time on extra-household unpaid helping activities (Egerton and Mullen 2008).
Extending this use of time diary data into a comprehensive comparable system of time-based socio-economic accounts (Gershuny 2008) in one of the aims of this research. Time, unlike money, is finite. Since at the societal level the total of work time (including that embodied in exports) must be sufficient to produce (or import) the goods and services required for the society’s consumption time, and since the distribution of occupations in the economy must mirror the pattern of consumption, time use indicators can provide not only measures of labour supply, but also (through consumption) the demand for labour. Thus the society’s time-budget can be used both to summarise all economic activity, and to connect the various sorts of economic activity to unpaid work and to consumption activities. Gershuny 2008 calculates societal- level time-budgets (the 'Great Day') from the UK time use data series from 1961 to 2001, providing evidence of 40 years of change in paid and unpaid work and its relationship to the fulfilment of consumption 'wants'. It is shown that over the period the modality of the 'Great Day' in the UK shifted decisively away from the fulfillment of basic needs to the satisfaction of luxury wants, associated with a growth in high-skilled employment and an overall substitution of unpaid for paid labour.
An assessment of the AHTUS data for the construction of extended National Accounts for the USA also formed part of the development process of the AHTUS data by CTUR (Egerton et al 2005).