Life-Style Conclusions from Synthetic Weekly Time Diaries and Stylised Questions
Jonathan Gershuny, John P Robinson
Electronic International Journal of Time Use Research

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.

National Utility: Measuring the Enjoyment of Activities
Jonathan Gershuny
European Sociological Review

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.

Domestic outsourcing and multitasking: How much do they really contribute?
Oriel Sullivan, Jonathan Gershuny
Social Science Research

The bulk of responsibility for domestic work and childcare in heterosexual couples falls on women. But the means they find to cope with this load, and how these means relate to the factors underpinning the division of labor are not often studied. Two much-cited ways of reducing overall work time are purchasing domestic assistance (outsourcing) and the multitasking of domestic/caring tasks. Using UK 2000/2001 time-use data (N = 4196 couples), we find domestic outsourcing is related to having dependent children and to partners' resources, but has little impact on the total domestic/caring workload of either partner. Nor can outsourcing account for the reduction in women's unpaid labor with increasing economic resources. Wives spend more time multitasking than husbands, but their proportion of multitasked domestic time is similar, and is not affected by resources or dependent children. Domestic multitasking seems to be more related to opportunity (time at home) than to time pressure. 

Leisure Inequality in the United States: 1965-2003
Almudena Sevilla Sanz, José Ignacio Giménez-Nadal, Jonathan Gershuny
Demography

This 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.

Leisure Inequality in the United States: 1965-2003
Almudena Sevilla Sanz, José Ignacio Giménez-Nadal, Jonathan Gershuny
Demography

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.

Lone and Couple Mothers’ Childcare Time Within Context in Four Countries
Lyn Craig, Killian Mullan
European Sociological Review

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.

Australian Fathers' Work and Family Time in Comparative and Temporal Perspective
Lyn Craig, Killian Mullan
Journal of Family Studies

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.

Too Many Zeros: A Method for Estimating Long-Term Time-Use from Short Diaries
Jonathan Gershuny
Annales d'Ėconomie et de Statistique

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.

How Mothers and Fathers Share Childcare: a Cross-National Time-Use Comparison
Lyn Craig, Killian Mullan
American Sociological Review

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.

Shared Parent–Child Leisure Time in Four Countries
Lyn Craig, Killian Mullan
Leisure Studies

Sharing leisure experiences is thought to promote family bonding and communication, and foster children’s intellectual, social and psychological development. Such time is ‘purposive’, and requires planning, organisation and maintenance, usually from the mother. Do parents and children spend more time in shared leisure together in countries where mothers do more childcare and spend longer each day with children? Using time use data we compare shared parent–child shared leisure time in four countries with different maternal work–force participation and attitudes to substitute childcare and child-raising: USA, Australia, Denmark and France. We create harmonised measures of leisure time mothers are with children, and time both parents are with children engaging in leisure in the same location (except in the USA, which has information from only one parent). To isolate shared interactive activities, time is further subdivided into (a) watching TV, DVDs or videos with children, (b) non-TV leisure time with children and (c) leisure time with children outside the family home. We find that overall time with children varies substantially between countries, reflecting mothers’ average time in paid work, but time in shared parent–child leisure, particularly outside the family home, does not.