Time use and well-being, and large survey studies
Forum for Health Economics & Policy, Volume 14, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1558-9544
This paper reviews several methods for measuring how people spend their time, and how they feel during these different activities, and argues that some of these methods could be well suited for large scale longitudinal surveys. Because time use methods allow for the quantitative assessment of the dynamics of human experience, they provide opportunities to explore numerous research questions that cannot be readily answered with more traditional summary measures of well-being. In the last decade or two, techniques have become available that can capture the dynamics of time use and well-being in ways that also reduce methodological problems such as biased recall. The paper describes several such methods, with a discussion of how they are implemented, and a comparison of their relative strengths and weaknesses. In the final section, the paper describes how the addition of time use measures can enhance national surveys such as the Health and Retirement Study by a) opening new avenues of research, and b) clarifying previous findings from more traditional measures of well being.