Using the American and the French time-use surveys, we examine whether people have a preference for a more diversified mix of activities, in the sense that they experience greater well-being when their time schedule contains many different activities rather than is concentrated on a very small number. This could be due to decreasing marginal utility, as is assumed for goods consumption, if each episode of time is conceived as yielding a certain level of utility per se. With returns to specialization, people would then face a trade-off between efficiency and diversity in choosing how to allocate time. We examine these issues and investigate potential gender differences, considering both instantaneous feelings and life satisfaction.
This work has been funded by a French government subsidy managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the framework of the Investissements d'avenir program reference ANR-17-EURE-001, as well as CEPREMAP. It has benefited from the excellent research assistance of David Pfeffer (PSE). We are indebted to the cautious reading of the editor and two anonymous referees for their useful suggestions.
Friedman-Sokuler, N. and Senik, C. (2023), "Time-Use and Subjective Well-Being: Is Diversity Really the Spice of Life?", Hamermesh, D.S. and Polachek, S.W. (Ed.) Time Use in Economics (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 51), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0147-912120230000051001
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