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American time use is topic of economic lectures

Oct. 17, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The economic implications of how Americans spend their time will be the topic of the 2006-07 Werner Sichel Lecture Series set to begin with a Friday, Oct. 20, speech by a Texas labor economist.

Dr. Daniel S. Hamermesh, the Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor of Economics at the University of Texas-Austin, will describe "The Economics of Time Use" in a talk set for 3 p.m. Friday in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall.

Hamermesh's talk is the first in the annual Sichel series, which this year revolves around the theme "How Do We Spend Our Time? Evidence from the American Time Use Survey." The series will bring six nationally renowned speakers from around the nation to WMU this year to explore time-use issues ranging from unpaid childcare to the impact of shift schedules on workers and their spouses. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Now in its 43rd year, the series is named in honor of longtime WMU economics professor, Dr. Werner Sichel, who retired in 2004. The series is cosponsored by the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

This year's Sichel Series is based on the U.S. Department of Labor's American Time Use Survey, which has been conducted annually by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics since 2003. The comprehensive survey provides details of daily living that provides information for economists, sociologists and demographers regarding adult time choices. The six public lectures form the basis for two courses overseen by Dr. Jean Kimmel, WMU associate professor of economics.

Hamermesh's focus will be specifically on the economic impact of how people choose to spend their time. His research covers such topics as retirement; sleep; time allocation across the day, week and year; and the measurement of household production. An internationally known labor economist, Hamermesh is a fellow of the Econometric Society and the Institution for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. For the latter organization, he directs programs on "The Future of Labor."

Other speakers in this year's Sichel series include the following speakers and topics. Each Wednesday lecture will take place at 3 p.m. in Room 3509 of Knauss Hall.

Nov. 8, Dr. Anne E. Polivka, a research economist with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, will focus on "The Daily Activities of Shift Workers and Their Spouses."

Dec. 6, Dr. Jennifer L. Ward-Batts, assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College, will describe "Household Production, Consumption and Retirement."

Feb. 21, Dr. Jay Stewart, a research economist with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, will answer the question, "What do Male Nonworkers Do?"

March 14, Dr. Cathleen D. Zick, professor and director of the master's program in public policy at the University of Utah, will explore "The Impact of Americans' Housework on Economic Inequality Over Time."

April 11, Dr. Nancy Folbre, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, talks about "The Value of Unpaid Childcare in the United States."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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