Overworked Americans?

In: Uncategorized

13 Aug 2007

The image of the “overworked American” is misleading according to an article in the Boston Globe ( 12 August). It draws on academic work which argues that innovations such as vacuum cleaners and takeout food have yielded enormous time savings over the past 40 years:

“(T)oday, these scholars say, we spend far less time on work than Americans did four decades ago. From 1965 to 2003, according to one study published this month, the average American gained the equivalent of seven weeks of vacation — in the form of extra leisure time spread throughout the year.

“Much of the time-savings comes from a source few people think about when they whine (or brag) about their workweeks: cleaning and cooking. We do much less of it than we used to, thanks to vacuum cleaners, takeout food, and other innovations. And the time-savings there more than offsets the extra time women now spend in offices, according to the study, which appears in the latest issue of The Quarterly Journal of Economics.”

However, other academics criticise the time diary methodology used in this study.

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