Time-use diaries

Although all of the measures identified as relevant to household surveys remain equally relevant to time-use surveys, the use of time diaries opens the way to collect additional co-variates not possible in standard household surveys. This is particularly the case where information on aspects of subjective well-being, such as affect, is collected in the diary itself. Several implications of collecting subjective well-being measures via time-use diaries are worth noting specifically:

  • • Activity classification - the standard activity classifications (Eurostat, 2004) are central to time-use diaries, and are of primary importance in interpreting information on subjective well-being.
  • • With whom - there is evidence that whether an activity is performed alone or with others, and the respondent’s relationship to the others, are important to subjective well-being (Kahneman and Krueger, 2006). This reinforces the value of collecting information on “with whom” an activity took place where subjective well-being measures are collected.
  • Location - the location of the activity in question and the impact that this has on subjective well-being is little researched. However, such information potentially brings useful context to analysis, and should be collected alongside subjective well-being and activity classification where possible.
  • • For whom - permits disaggregation of activity data by the purpose of the activity. This allows for analysing activities done for voluntary organisations, persons with a disability, family and non-family members, which may all have useful analytical possibilities for subjective well-being.
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