Conference Paper ESRC Gender Equality Network Conference
Gender and Time Use Over the Life Course: evidence from calibrated time use estimates in the British Household Panel Survey
14 Dec 2006
This paper reports an exercise on calibrating time use estimates for the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). The BHPS is a strong household panel that contains repeated measures of time spent on paid work, housework and leisure activities. These time use measures provide rich information about changes in individuals' use of time over the life course. Nevertheless, research has shown that these questionnaire-based time use measures contain systematic errors.
Time use estimates derived from diary records are more accurate and reliable than stylized estimates. But the diary method is not practical within a panel study framework because it is costly for researchers and onerous for respondents.
This exercise attempts to combine the strengths of panel survey studies and time diary studies. We have a time-diary data set, the Home-on-Line Study (HoL), which shares the same questionnaire-derived time-use predictor variables with the BHPS. We use regression of the predictors on the time diary data in HoL to calibrate time use in the BHPS by multiplying the resulting regression coefficients with the same predictor variables in the BHPS. We then get a calibrated index of individuals' time-use patterns based on the BHPS questionnaire items.
These calibrated estimates will be used to chart changes in women's and men's use of time on paid work, unpaid work and consumption over the life course. The implications of time use for the gender differences in labour market earnings and in life satisfaction will be discussed.