"Time Use, Emotional Well-Being and Unemployment: Evidence from Longitudinal Data"
American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings,
Volume: 102 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 549-599
Publication type: Journal article
How do unemployed individuals allocate and experience their time? How does their time use and emotional experience change once they find a job? This paper provides new evidence on the time use and emotional well-being of unemployed and employed individuals in the U.S., using longitudinal data from a survey of unemployed workers in New Jersey. We find evidence that the time spent on home production activities drops sharply at the time of re-employment, with the magnitude of the shift in line with previous research using cross-sectional time use surveys (Hamermesh and Burda, 2010; Krueger and Mueller, forthcoming). Leisure activities also decrease at the time of re-employment, though somewhat less than in cross-sectional time use data, partly because those finding a job were spending more time on job search activities in the weeks prior to re-employment.
We also investigate the relationship between unemployment and emotional well-being in connection with time use. Despite the fact that the unemployed spend relatively more time in leisure-related activities, we find that the unemployed enjoy these activities to a lesser degree than their employed counterparts and thus, on an average day, report higher levels of sadness than the employed. Moreover, using the longitudinal data from the NJ survey, we find that the sadness decreases significantly at the time of re-employment.
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