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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaeyoon Lim: Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. E-mail: email@example.com
- Citation: Young, Cristobal, and Chaeyoon Lim. 2014. “Time as a Network Good: Evidence from Unemployment and the Standard Workweek.” Sociological Science 1: 10-27.
- Received: October 16, 2013
- Accepted: October 24, 2013
- Editors: Stephen L. Morgan
- DOI: 10.15195/v1.a2
This study examines whether religious people experience more positive affect and less negative affect in everyday life and, if they do, whether it is because of the differences in how they allocate time to different activities or because they feel differently during similar activities. Using the well-being module from the 2010–13 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), I show that churchgoers enjoy a significantly higher level of affective well-being on Sunday than non-churchgoers do. The supplementary analysis of the Gallup Daily Poll data suggests that this higher level of affective well-being among churchgoers is found throughout the rest of the week as well. Further analyses of the ATUS demonstrate that about 40 percent of the affective well-being gap between churchgoers and non-churchgoers on Sunday can be explained by how they spend their time differently. Churchgoers spend more time on Sunday participating in pleasant activities shared with family members and friends than non-churchgoers do. More than half of the gap, however, remains unexplained, implying that it has to do with how they feel during similar activities rather than the activities in which they participate. I discuss the implications of these findings on the mechanisms underlying the link between religion and subjective well-being.