Time budgets and other time issues

A landmark study by one of our speakers (Arnulf Grübler) has shown that, in the long run, time budgets evolution is characterised by remarkably stable trends at the macroscopic level. There is a powerful, general and steady trend towards decrease of time used (over a lifetime) for work and regular increase of time used for non-work and in particular for leisure type of activities. But when analysed at a more microscopic level (for instance time budget allocated within non-work activities to various types of information exchanges or interaction activities) the picture is less clear. At this level, there seems to be more flexibility, as illustrated by the speed at which television viewing has conquered a very large share of time budgets just after World War II, or how it recently receded in favour of time spent playing video games and using personal computers. In the field of transport, studies have shown that time budgets are often explaining transport and commuting behaviours at the level of individual decisions: an individual cannot afford to use some sustainable way of transportation because of lack of time. But they are explained by them at the level of the society as a whole: time spent commuting grows as a result of the building up of a car centred transportation and habitat infrastructure accommodating these individual « preferences ».
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