An Empirical Investigation into the Time-Use and Activity Patterns of Dual-Earner Couples With and Without Young Children

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Bernardo, Christina
Paleti, Rajesh
Hoklas, Megan M.
Bhat, Chandra R.

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This paper examines the time-use patterns of adults in dual-earner households with and without children as a function of several individual and household socio-demographics and employment characteristics. A disaggregate activity purpose classification including both in-home and out-ofhome activity pursuits is used because of the travel demand relevance of out-of-home pursuits, as well as to examine both mobility-related and general time-use related social exclusion and time poverty issues. The study uses the Nested Multiple Discrete Continuous Extreme Value (MDCNEV) model, which recognizes that time-decisions entail the choice of participating in one or more activity purposes along with the amount of time to invest in each chosen activity purpose, and allows generic correlation structures to account for common unobserved factors that might impact the choice of multiple alternatives. The 2010 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data is used for the empirical analysis. A major finding of the study is that the presence of a child in dual-earner households not only leads to a reduction in in-home non-work activity participation (excluding child care activities) but also a substantially larger decrease in out-ofhome non-work activity participation (excluding child care and shopping activities), suggesting a higher level of mobility-related social exclusion relative to overall time-use social exclusion. To summarize, the results in the paper underscore the importance of considering household structure in activity-based travel demand models, as well as re-designing work policies in the United States to facilitate a reduction in work-family conflict in dual-earner families.


At the time of publication M. Hoklas and C.R. Bhat were at the University of Texas at Austin, while C. Bernardo and R. Paleti were at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

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