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Atlanta Fed Working Papers


Home Hours in the United States and Europe

Lei Fang and Cara McDaniel
Working Paper 2014-5
June 2014

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Using data from the Multinational Time Use Study, this paper documents the trends and levels of time allocation, with a focus on home hours, for a relatively large set of industrialized countries during the past 50 years. Three patterns emerge. First, home hours have decreased in both the United States and European countries. Second, female time allocation contributes more to the cross-country difference in both the trends and the levels of market hours and home hours per person. Third, time allocations between the United States and Europe are more similar for the prime-age group than for the young and old groups.

JEL classification: J22, D13

Key words: time use, home hours, sex, age


The authors thank Russel Cooper, Daniel Hamermesh, and Richard Rogerson for their insightful comments. They also thank seminar participants at the University of Texas, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the 2012 Midwest Macro Meeting. They thank Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst for their Stata programs that make time-use data much easier to work with. The views expressed here are the authors' and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any remaining errors are the authors' responsibility.

Please address questions regarding content to Lei Fang, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 1000 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309-4470, 404-498-8057, lei.fang@atl.frb.org; or Cara McDaniel, Department of Applied Economics, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, gzhu@gsm.pku.edu.cn.

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