Conceptualisation and Measurement of Time-Use

  1. Long-term time-use estimation
  2. Day-diaries suffer from the “too-many zeros” problem: differences among specific days may mask longer term interpersonal similarities: short diaries are misleading about societal distributions of activity. Participation frequency (“How often do you?”) or “habit” questionnaire items which address this, have serious reliability problems resulting from social desirability bias and respondents’ lack of self-knowledge. The novel solution used here takes diary accounts and stylised items in tandem to improve both. The simple intuition is that participation frequency on the randomly selected diary day can be used to calibrate the answers to the stylised questions. This implies a requirement for both sorts of data to be collected from the same respondents. Various countries already have suitable data sets available; we are also collecting survey data for this specific purpose.

  3. Instantaneous utility measurement
  4. “Hedonic psychologists” propose the combination of diary-type observations of events and measures of affective responses to them, as a basis for measurement of enjoyment of specific daily events (which they describe as “objective happiness”). So far only rather simple approaches to this have emerged (eg multiplying time spent in an activity by affect scores). We will look at the affective consequences of positions in activity sequences and of activity density (multiple simultaneous activities) as well as the timing of types of activity through the day. Our new evidence from diaries with continuous enjoyment measures will be used alongside related materials from the ATUS, French and other European surveys, to investigate inter alia the hypothesis of equalisation of marginal utility of time across activities.