Collecting New Time-Use Resources (CNTUR)

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Gershuny


The Centre for Time Use Research has secured ESRC grant ES/L011662/1, which includes funding to collect a 2014-2015 UK national sample Harmonised European Time Use(HETUS) Survey.

Daily events - driving to work, cinema visits, playing with children - are the atoms of social life. The life-course of each individual in any society consists of a sequence of such events, partially reiterated over daily, weekly, seasonal and annual cycles. Specific elements of these sequences accumulate into individual biographical characteristics: a history of continuous job participation increases "human capital" (expected future wage), frequent visits to the theatre or concert call
accumulate as cultural capital and so on. And in turn, these individual characteristics aggregate to form key societal variables such as employment levels, rates of cultural participation, quantities of household production and voluntary care provision.

Time, unlike money, is an appropriate unit of account for leisure and unpaid work as well as paid. So random samples of event sequences represent all the time devoted to all of a society's activities. Time Use Diary Surveys (TUDSs), collecting activity sequences from random samples, therefore, provide a more comprehensive and consistent view of socio-economic circumstances than emerge, either from the money-related phenomena which predominate in conventional economic statistics, or from sociologists use of disjointed questionnaire measures of work-related behaviour and domestic and leisure practices or participation in cultural and sporting events.

TUDSs have an unusually wide range of current or potential applications:

  • Establishing relationship between conventional National Product and non-monetary output
  • Identifying the impact of labour market exclusion on leisure, voluntary, other unpaid work
  • Identifying short duration trips (underestimated in the National Travel Survey)
  • Measuring (changes in) the domestic division of labour
  • Estimating extent of sociability, co-presence and care activities
  • Estimating personal physical activity levels in relation to medical/public health objectives
  • Registering exposure to environmental risk or strain from people's daily activity
  • Measurement of subjective well being and instantaneous or "objective" utility

The resource collection and enhancement activities in this project will contribute substantially to historical and cross-national comparative research in each of these areas.

The UK has a substantial historical collection of full-scale TUDSs covering the period 1961-2001, but unlike most other developed countries, has no recent time diary survey. The new large UK time diary survey to be undertaken for this project in 2014, not only updates the sequence of UK studies but, conforming to the standard Harmonized European Time Use Survey protocol, enables straightforward and detailed comparisons with more than a dozen other recent European time diary surveys, as well as comparisons with the much larger (20 country, 40 year, 60 survey) Multinational Time Use Study
(MTUS), which is maintained by the Centre for Time Use Research (CTUR) and will also be extended as a result of this project.


For more details, please visit the Centre for Time-Use Research's website.

Funding Provider

Visit the Economic and Social Research Council website

Economic and Social Research Council

Duration of Funding: 5 years

Research Associates

Research Centres

  • Centre for Time Use Research