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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

How to Think About Time‐Use Data: What Inferences Can We Make About Long‐ and Short‐Run Time Use from Time Diaries?

Harley Frazis and Jay Stewart

Abstract

Time-use researchers are typically interested in the time use of individuals, but time use data are samples of person-days. Given day-to-day variation in how people spend their time, this distinction is analytically important. We examine the conditions necessary to make inferences about the time use of individuals from a sample of person-days. We also discuss whether and how surveys with multiple household members or multiple days are an improvement over single-diary surveys.