Time to Work or Time to Play: The Effect of Student Employment on Homework, Sleep, and Screen Time

Charlene M. Kalenkoski, Ohio University
Sabrina Pabilonia, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

We use detailed time-diary information on high school students’ daily activities from the 2003–2008 American Time Use Surveys (ATUS) to investigate the effects of employment on the time a student spends on homework and other major activities. Time-diary data are more detailed and accurate than data derived from responses to “usual activity” survey questions underlying other analyses and capture the immediate effects of working that may well accumulate over time to affect future outcomes. Our results suggest that employment decreases the time that high school students spend on homework, which is human-capital building, on all days, but also decreases screen time on non-school days, which may be considered unproductive time. Employed teens get more than the recommended amount of sleep on school days, and only slightly less on non-school days.

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Presented in Session 193: Determinants of the Well-Being of Children and Youth in the U.S.