Start Date

15-10-2009 2:15 PM

End Date

15-10-2009 3:30 PM

Description

Using Canadian time use data, we exploit exogenous variation in local unemployment rates to investigate the cyclical nature of sleep time and show that for both men and women, sleep time decreases when the economy is doing relatively better. Our results suggest that in a recession Canadians sleep an average of 2 hours and 34 minutes more per week, or 22 minutes more per day. Given the importance of even small changes in sleep time on measures of cognitive functioning such as reaction time and concentration, our findings may help explain the countercyclical nature of mortality. Further, as we find that sleep is affected by the same economic variables (notably the unemployment rate) that affect market work time, our results also contribute to the limited literature that shows that sleep time should not be treated as exogenously determined, but, like any other resource, determined by its relative cost.

Pierre Brochu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. His research interests include labour economics, applied health economics and applied econometrics. His research has mainly focused on the employee-employer relationship; more specifically, job security and job stability.


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Oct 15th, 2:15 PM Oct 15th, 3:30 PM

The ‘Trendiness’ of Sleep: An Empirical Investigation into the Cyclical Nature of Sleep Time

Using Canadian time use data, we exploit exogenous variation in local unemployment rates to investigate the cyclical nature of sleep time and show that for both men and women, sleep time decreases when the economy is doing relatively better. Our results suggest that in a recession Canadians sleep an average of 2 hours and 34 minutes more per week, or 22 minutes more per day. Given the importance of even small changes in sleep time on measures of cognitive functioning such as reaction time and concentration, our findings may help explain the countercyclical nature of mortality. Further, as we find that sleep is affected by the same economic variables (notably the unemployment rate) that affect market work time, our results also contribute to the limited literature that shows that sleep time should not be treated as exogenously determined, but, like any other resource, determined by its relative cost.

Pierre Brochu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Ottawa. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. His research interests include labour economics, applied health economics and applied econometrics. His research has mainly focused on the employee-employer relationship; more specifically, job security and job stability.