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TIME USE, NON-MARKET WORK, AND FAMILY WELL-BEING
A conference cosponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Conference summaries written by the following graduate student participants:
Michelle Budig, Lynn Hatch, Matthew Lyon, Katherin
Edited by Lynn Hatch
These summaries have not been reviewed by the conference organizers or presenters
Michael Horrigan, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) opened the conference, welcomed everyone and introduced the organizing agencies: the MacArthur Network on the Family and the Economy (the MacArthur Network); the Women's Bureau, US Department of Labor; and the BLS.
Katharine Abraham, BLS, welcomed everyone, thanked the foreign visitors and financial contributors and briefly described the MacArthur Network. Both the BLS and the MacArthur Foundation have a long history of commitment to issues. The BLS has been working on the measurement of changes in the cost of living. However just looking at the price of goods for consumers, for example, is not adequate, we need to look at time too. We need a better understanding of how people allocate both money and time. How should we measure non-market work? How should we develop time-use surveys? These are two of the difficult questions currently being pondered. The BLS is developing some methods and surveys in conjunction with other statistical agencies.
Where should the BLS go from here? It would be ideal to collect information on time-use, but there are many issues related to measuring unpaid work. Others, academics and non-academics, are working on these issues, in particular, conference participants from Australia, Statistics Canada, the United Nations, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, and the Women's Bureau. In addition to academic pursuits, there are numerous policy interests in measuring non-market work. Since 1993 in the United States, Congress has introduced legislation to have the BLS collect time-use information including work-at-home data and add this new data to the System of National Accounts (SNA). There will be considerable interest even outside the academic arena for what comes out of this conference. From the BLS' perspective, an ideal outcome from the conference would be to begin collecting information on time use on an ongoing and regular basis.