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Time Pressure

In: People

Submitted By anjoice123
Words 11921
Pages 48
Social Indicators Research (2005) 73: 43–70 DOI 10.1007/s11205-004-4642-9

Ó Springer 2005

ROBERT E. GOODIN, JAMES MAHMUD RICE, MICHAEL BITTMAN and PETER SAUNDERS1

THE TIME-PRESSURE ILLUSION: DISCRETIONARY TIME VS. FREE TIME
(Accepted 6 October 2004)

ABSTRACT. People’s welfare is a function of both time and money. People can – and, it is said, increasingly do – suffer time-poverty as well as money-poverty. It is undeniably true that people feel increasingly time pressured, particularly in dualearner households. But much of the time devoted to paid and unpaid tasks is over and above that which is strictly necessary. In that sense, much of the time pressure that people feel is discretionary and of their own making. Using data from the 1992 Australian Time Use Survey, this paper demonstrates that the magnitude of this ‘time-pressure illusion’ varies across population groups, being least among lone parents and greatest among the childless and two-earner couples. KEY WORDS: discretionary time, free time, leisure, time pressure, time use

INTRODUCTION Being ‘money poor’ is a familiar phenomenon, a simple matter of not having enough money to meet one’s needs in any of the many ways those might be specified. Being ‘time poor’, by analogy, is a matter of not having enough time to do all the things one has to do (Vickery, 1977). It is said to be an increasingly common phenomenon in modern societies. There is some controversy over whether time in paid labour is actually increasing or not.2 But there is little doubt that total time spent in paid and unpaid household labour is increasing overall, as increasing numbers of working women and dual-earner couples more generally put in a ‘second shift’ at home after a full day in paid labour.3 Even the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers (1999) has agreed that the ‘time crunch’ is real. The conventional way to measure ‘time

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