Odd Numbers, an excellent blog by Jubin Zelveh at Portfolio.com, recently listed a few findings from the American Time Use Survey, which is in danger of being ended. They included:

- First-born children receive 20 to 30 minutes more quality time each day from parents than second-born children.

- Married couples have very little influence over each other when it comes to how much time each spends on leisure, child care, and chores.

A comment was:

Valuable information?

You can’t be serious. What can possibly be done by anybody about these “observations”?

This seems like a welfare program for economists.

Time use data — from 13 countries, including America — had a huge effect on my research and I suppose my life, since I applied my research to my life. The time use data I’m referring to showed that Americans were awake an hour later than people in the 12 other countries. They also watched TV an hour later. In other words, America was an outlier in two distributions: time of going to sleep, and time of stopping TV watching. I knew about research that showed that exposure to other people controls when we sleep. The time use data suggested that watching TV can substitute for ordinary human contact in the control of when we sleep. I wondered if seeing faces in the morning would improve my sleep; so I tried watching late-night TV early in the morning (via tape). I did that on a Monday morning. On Tuesday morning, I felt exceptionally good. Thus began the self-experimentation behind my pretty-face post. My best work. (The self-experimentation, not the post.)

Thanks to Marginal Revolution.