Publications by CTUR Members
One of the notable innovations in social-science methodology developed during the 1960s was Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS). MDS made it possible for social scientists to discover, uncover or model the underlying spatial structure of relations between various social collectives (like countries or communities), social objects (like music or artifacts) or social attitudes. One early application of MDS described the dimensional contours of Americans’ views of other countries in terms of “perceptual maps of the world”. More recently, it has been used to map country differences in the World Values Survey. Spurred by its initial successful applications, MDS was extended to time-diary data collected in the pioneering 1965 Multinational Time-Budget Study, in which it again provided insightful portrayals of daily activity across the 15 national settings in that study. This present article updates and extends these results by applying MDS methods to the most recent diary collection in the Oxford University MTUS data archive – covering more than 20 (mainly European) countries. Once again, the result was plausible (but somewhat different) configurations again emerged from MDS visualizations. Moreover, these mappings were compatible with conclusions from the 1965 mapping and with earlier more conventional analyses.
This research has compared leisure activity intercorrelations in two US national studies using time estimate questions and then compared both to the patterns of activity correlation found in weekly time diaries. As expected, it finds consider able convergence in the two studies using respondent estimates, as correlated with reported work hours and hours watching TV. Work hours tended to correlate more positively with most leisure activities, while TV hours tended to correlate negatively with them. In contrast, the weekly time diary figures for these activities for both work hours and TV hours tended to correlate negatively. Moreover, the inter-correlations of specific leisure activities, like movies and sports, were also stronger in the respondent estimates.
The MTUS archive offers a basis a gainst which researchers can monitor changes in behaviour trends over time, as well as assess the potential impacts of changes in the way time use surveys are collected over time. The MTUS Simple File both provides a straight-forward entry point to time use research for people new to the field, while also facilitating ready access to production of basic statistics for experienced users. This new file structure also will facilitate the more rapid release of more surveys in the MTUS format. If you are not already an MTUS user and wish to explore the archive, access is free for all academic and policy researchers, and can be arranged following the registration process on the MTUS website (http://www.timeuse.org/mtus/register), With the release of the Simple File, the MTUS project has come full circle in finding a way to make the most of early efforts and principals while also facilitating the future expansion of MTUS resources.
CTUR staff currently are designing of the new UK HETUS instruments, with aims to optimise compatibility with the current second round HETUS project, with the 2000-01 first round UK HETUS, as well as with the longer sequence of UK data in the Multinational Time Use Study. A subsample of the new UK HETUS households will complete an affect field in their time dia- ry alongside the activity and activity-context reporting. The ESRC grant requires this new survey to enter the field in April 2014, and for data collection to continue through March 2015. This survey will collect two diaries from all house hold members aged 8 and older in sampled private households, one diary on a week day or work /school day, and one diary on a weekend or non-work/school day. Diarists will record their activities in their own words. As the new UK HETUS fieldwork will overlap the collection of time diaries in the two longitudinal surveys (the Millennium Cohort Survey and Understanding Society), those who analyse this data will have a chance to compliment diary an alysis with longitudinal evidence. The UK HETUS survey design process already includes preparation for distribution to researchers through the MTUS, the TUS-X extract system (in which CTUR is collaborating with the Maryland Population Research Centre and the Minnesota Population Centre to provide customised variable construction and file download facilities), and through the UK Data Archive. 2014 and beyond will offer many new research opportunities for those with an interest in daily behaviour in the UK.
Abstract: This article applies a sociologically informed theoretical perspective on time allocation - assuming that choices are made by actors who are embedded within constrained sequences of daily activity—in empirical estimations of mean and marginal utilities for a comprehensive list of daily activities. It uses data from two time diary surveys, one from the USA and one from the UK, which register the respondents’ levels of enjoyment of each diary event. Remarkable similarities emerge between the estimates for the two countries. Time use samples from a range of countries and historical periods are compared which suggest the possibility that, despite substantial economic growth during the last third of the 20th century, aggregate National Utility may have actually declined for some groups in some developed countries.
We use data from nationally representative time-use surveys to compare and contrast lone and partnered mothers’ childcare time in four countries with different social norms and policy orientations towards mother-care and work–family reconciliation: Australia, the United States, France, and Denmark (N = 8,031). We decompose time with children into primary activity care tasks: (i) physical care, (ii) talk-based interactive activities, (iii) accompanying children, and also measure (iv) additional time spent with children net of specific care activities. We find that, on average, mothers in Australia and the United States spend substantially longer each day with children net of specific care activities than mothers in France and Denmark, but that primary activity care tasks are relatively uniform cross-nationally. In France and the United States, lone mothers spend less time with their children in total than partnered mothers. Gaps are widest in the United States, where, uniquely, lone mothers also do less primary activity of child care than partnered mothers.
his article exploits the complex sequential structure of the diary data in the American Heritage Time Use Study (AHTUS) and constructs three classes of indicators that capture the quality of leisure (pure leisure, co-present leisure, and leisure fragmentation) to show that the relative growth in leisure time enjoyed by low-educated individuals documented in previous studies has been accompanied by a relative decrease in the quality of that leisure time. These results are not driven by any single leisure activity, such as time spent watching television. Our findings may offer a more comprehensive picture of inequality in the United States and provide a basis for weighing the relative decline in earnings and consumption for the less-educated against the simultaneous relative growth of leisure.
Expectations of fathers have moved from being financial providers to also taking an active, hands-on role in the care of children. What does this mean for contemporary Australian fathers' time commitments to work and family? This paper draws together studies using time use data from Australia, USA, France, Italy and Denmark to show change and continuity in Australian fathers' time over the period 1992-2006, and how they currently compare with fathers in the other countries. It discusses the policy context of each country, which may inform fathering norms and behavior, and looks at their employment time, their housework, the specific childcare activities they undertake, and how they share childcare with mothers in relative terms. The research shows gender disparities remain wide, but despite long work hours, Australian fathers are high care participants in world terms, their childcare time is going up, and they are increasing their repertoire of care activities.
Various issues of public policy and individual wellbeing, ranging from physical exercise to access to cultural activities and leisure more generally, require reliable estimates of the distribution of relatively infrequent (much less than daily) activities across populations. Questionnaire items (such as those asking “How often do you (engage in . . . activity)?”, suffer from respondent recall, classification, observation period and social desirability problems; own-words diaries are therefore the preferred method of measuring time use. But the respondent burden imposed by diary instruments is considerable, and the normal advice is to limit the length of diaries to a single day. This paper sets out a method for combining questionnaire “habit” indicators and diary methods to provide reliable long-term estimates of time use. It concludes that the usefulness of exercises such as the American Time Use Study and the Harmonised European Time Use Study would be greatly enhanced by the collection of habit measures from their diary respondents. And the use of this method might substantially reduce the average cost of collecting high quality time use evidence.
In most families today, childcare remains divided unequally between fathers and mothers. Scholars argue that persistence of gendered divisions in childcare is due to multiple causes, including values about gender and family, disparities in paid work, class, and social context. It is likely that all of these factors interact, but to date researchers have not explored such interactions. To address this gap, we analyze nationally representative time-use data from Australia, Denmark, France, and Italy. These countries have different employment patterns, social and family policies, and cultural attitudes toward parenting and gender equality. Using data from matched married couples, we conduct a cross-national study of mothers’ and fathers’ relative time in childcare, divided along dimensions of task (i.e., routine versus non-routine activities) and co-presence (i.e., caring for children together as a couple versus caring solo).Results show that mothers’ and fathers’ work arrangements and education relate modestly to shares of childcare, and this relationship differs across countries. We find cross-national variation in whether more equal shares result from the behavior of mothers, fathers, or both spouses. Results illustrate the relevance of social context in accentuating or minimizing the impact of individual- and household-level characteristics.