The Case for a new UK Time Use Survey in 2013-14 or 2014-15

CTUR seeks ESRC support for a new UK national time use survey, collected according to the Eurostat Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (HETUS) guidelines. Though embodying the latest methodological advances, this provides the highest level of backwards compatibility with the 2000-1 UK study (also HETUS compliant), and high levels of compatibility with the other European studies contributing to the 2008-13 HETUS data collection round. France, Italy and Germany have completed their fieldwork, and we expect that at least 16, and possibly more, national studies will ultimately be available from this round.

On the basis of usage of the 2000-1 study, we may expect in excess of 1000 academic users of the new study, fairly evenly divided between economics and sociology, with a growing number of psychologists, but including also, medical, environmental, management and other specialists. Applications include investigations of economic and technological change, national accounting, labour market studies and the work-life balance, transport planning, gender issues and the domestic division of labour, sociability, caring of children and adults, physical exercise and health, environmental and energy demand issues.

Participation in the HETUS requires use of the diary instruments specified by Eurostat. A small “light diary” sample for calibration and linkage with the ESRC-funded Understanding Society (US) panel survey is also proposed. And new high technology approaches (involving GPS and other devices) will be explored (though not funded under the present proposal) in preparation for use in subsequent large scale time use studies.

The cost of a study on the same scale as the 2000-1 collection (20,000 diary days) would be £1.5 - £2M. It would be preferable for the ESRC to fund the whole study. Changes in the Office of National Statistics mean that co-funding will be much more difficult to arrange than was the case in 2000-1.