New Perspectives on Time Use
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Daniel Hamermesh, Barnard College and IZA
Commuting Time and Labor Supply
AbstractCommuting imposes financial, time and emotional cost on the labor force, which increases the cost of supplying labor. Theory suggests a negative or no relation between travel and working time for two reasons: travel time is a cost to supplying labor and commuting frustrates the traveler decreasing productivity. We use a unique dataset that records all commuting trips by public transport (bus and train) over three months in 2013 to study if commuting time affects labor supply decisions in Singapore. We propose a new measure of commuting and working time based on administrative data, which sidesteps issues related to survey data. We document a causal positive relation between commute time and the labor supply decision within individuals. Specifically, we show that a one standard deviation increase in commute time increases working time by 2.6%, controlling for individual, location, and time fixed effects.
There are two sources of variation in the elasticity of work time to travel time: across individual and within individual (time variation). While part of the cross-sectional variation may be captured by survey data, the time-variation is completely unexplored. First, we find that the cross-sectional variation depends on whether one engages in a service or manufacturing type of job. This cross-sectional variation might be missed out in survey-based responses due to a different selection process, based say on the proportion of industries in the S&P500. Second, we find that there is very large within individual variation in the elasticity, not based on calendar effects, like day of the week or month.
We investigate several potential explanations for this result. We find that in professions where interaction with co-workers and with customers is necessary, i.e. service jobs, disruptions in travelling to work cause a backlog and increase the working hours beyond the original travel delay. These (travel delayed) individuals are not compensated for the time that they put in, in addition to the usual number of working hours. This means that there is a cost shift from employer to employee. Given the recent trend of moving from from manufacturing to service-based economies, it is most likely the positive elasticity will increase and become a larger economic burden.
Caregiving and Labor Force Participation: New Evidence From the American Time Use Survey
AbstractA large share of the growing demand for elderly care is met informally by relatives, who provide an estimated $470 billion worth of unpaid care annually (AARP 2013). Understanding the implications of this care, especially in terms of labor supply, is important considering that caregivers are often themselves nearing retirement. Existing studies of caregiving in the US rely primarily on a biennial panel survey, which makes it difficult to examine closely the transition to caregiving and its immediate effects on work behavior and time use. In this paper, we provide new evidence of the short-term impacts of caregiving on labor supply from the American Time Use Survey eldercare module from 2011 to 2015. We link the ATUS to the Current Population Survey panel and take advantage of retrospective caregiving start reports to construct a short (18-21 month) panel, capturing labor supply behavior immediately before and after individuals report beginning caregiving. Understanding these short-term impacts is key to the policy debate about how family friendly workplace policies, such as paid family leave, may help balance the demands of informal care and work. We look at likelihood of working, hours worked, and absences from work to estimate the impact of caregiving on labor force participation at a much finer interval than previous work. We investigate heterogeneity based on demographic characteristics and caregiving intensity. Preliminary results suggest that starting caregiving is associated with a 3% increase in stopping work, and a 25% increase in the likelihood of being absent from work in a given week. We find that female caregivers are more likely to leave the labor force, while the intensive margin effects are concentrated among male caregivers. All labor supply changes are concentrated among higher educated caregivers. We find little evidence that this is driven by selection into different types of caregiving.
A Time to Make Laws and a Time to Fundraise? On the Relation Between Salaries and Time Use for State Politicians
AbstractPaying higher salaries is often believed to enhance worker effort, leading workers to work harder to avoid getting fired. However, workers may also respond to higher salaries by focusing on tasks that most directly affect getting fired (as opposed to those that contribute most to productivity). We explore these issues by analyzing the relationship between the level of compensation and time use for US state legislators. Using data on time use and legislator salaries, we show that higher salary is associated with legislators spending more time on fundraising. In contrast, higher salary is also associated with less time spent on legislative activities and has no clear relation to time spent on constituent services. Subgroup analysis broadly supports our interpretation of the data.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
University of Washington-Seattle
- J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor
- D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics