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Daylight Savings Time Affects Work Habits, Economy

Economics faculty member Daniel S. Hamermesh examines the impact of time-change

Posted: March 8, 2007

When daylight-saving time begins on Sunday, Hawaii and Arizona residents will likely shift their days backward, going to bed and getting up earlier. The study showed when the rest of the country is on daylight-saving time people in those states that do not observe daylight-saving time are less likely to be asleep at 7:30 a.m. than the rest of the country. They are 50 percent more likely to be working early in the morning.

The schedule change is an effort to stay in synch with the rest of the country, much the same way spouses prefer to work similar hours.

"The stockbroker on the West Coast gets to work early to keep up with the East Coast markets," said Daniel Hamermesh, the Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor in Economics and lead author of the study. "In turn, the waiter at the coffee shop adjusts his schedule to match the stockbroker's."

Hamermesh also found daylight-saving time and time zones affect television audiences' viewing habits.

"Viewers on the coasts are more likely to stay up later than viewers in the middle of the country, because television schedules put prime-time and late-night shows on later in those regions," Hamermesh said. "This research shows that it matters when activities take place. Time has a direct impact on activity and the economy."

The study used data from the American Time Use Survey, an on-going project from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contact: Daniel Hamermesh
Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor in Economics
hamermes@eco.utexas.edu
512-475-8526

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