Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Workweek

Cristobal Young, Chaeyoon Lim

Sociological Science, February 18, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a2



We argue that time is a network good: its value depends on the number of social others who have the same schedule of time available. We demonstrate this in a comparative analysis of how the standard workweek shapes the social time and emotional well-being of workers and the unemployed. Drawing on two independent data sets, with more than half a million respondents, we show that both workers and the unemployed experience remarkably similar increases in emotional well-being on weekends and have similar declines in well-being when the workweek begins. The unemployed look forward to weekends much the same as workers. This is in large part because social time increases sharply on weekends for both workers and the unemployed. Weekend well-being is not due to time off work per se but rather is a collectively produced social good stemming from widely shared free time on weekends. The unemployed gain comparatively little benefit from their time off during the week, when others go to work.

Cristobal Young: Department of Sociology, Stanford University. E-mail: [email protected]

Chaeyoon Lim: Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. E-mail: [email protected]

Young, Cristobal, and Chaeyoon Lim. 2014. “Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Workweek.” Sociological Science 1: 10-27.

DOI: 10.15195/v1.a2

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