Use of Time in Single-Member Households in Slovakia

By Knapkova, Miroslava; Kascakova, Alena | E+M Ekonomie a Management, July 2018 | Go to article overview

Use of Time in Single-Member Households in Slovakia


Knapkova, Miroslava, Kascakova, Alena, E+M Ekonomie a Management


Introduction

Households represent one of the economic subjects entering to the market mechanism. The microeconomic theory focuses on households mostly as units of consumption, savings, partly as production units. Households participate on the side of the supply as well as on the side of the demand (Samuelson & Nordhaus, 2013; Mankiw, 1999). Households' specific status on the supply side arises from the fact that households offer their ability to work at the labour market. When considering households on the demand side, mostly demand for goods and services that satisfied households' needs must be included. Single-member households is a specific group of households. Their amount in the world has risen significantly in the last decades. Particularities of single-member households are linked with demography, sociology, relationships, economy, as well as with specific allocation of their time. The aim of this study is to examine the use of time of single-member households in Slovakia. We analysed 301 single-member households and allocation of their daily time into 13 activities. Results of this study are based on original primary research (so far, there was no official time use survey in Slovakia). The use of time of households does not belong to the standard topics of microeconomic theories, however, it influences, and it is closely linked with specifics of the households' consumption, savings, participation on labour market, production (market production as well as non-market production in case of unpaid work performed in households) and other aspects covering by microeconomic theories.

1. Theoretical Framework of Research

Households as economic subjects are very dynamic. Number of households and structure of households according to the number of members, as well as households' economy, division of the time and spending of the time are changing quite often. Many changes in households' behaviour and households' structure correspond with the general changes in the society. Changes in the reproduction behaviours in the last period lead to the decreasing of the households' members number and decreasing of the ratio of the traditional and complete families. Young persons postpone time for concluding matrimony and they prefer to fulfil their individual goals and values. Traditional matrimony is replaced by various types of alternative relationships (Roseneil & Budgeon, 2004; Kaufmann 1999). This is an international phenomenon and many researches have confirmed that number of households permanently increases (as a consequence of decreasing of the households' members number) in most of the developed countries (Williams, 2003; Wulff, 2001). Attitudes towards individual's privacy have changed significantly in the last decade. Privacy is being considered as one of the inalienable human rights (Klinenberg, 2012; Singly, 2009). Individual ownership (mostly in case of housing ownership) leads to the increasing independence from the family. Mostly in the age of emerging adulthood, individuals have many possibilities for personal self-realization outside the families. This can lead to the continuous living in the single-member household.

Living in the single-member households is becoming evident mostly in the developed western countries. According to Hooper et al. (1998), decreasing number of household's members is evident in those countries, which are in the post-industrial stage of their development. Living alone is not a completely new phenomenon and even in the past there was a part of the population living alone. However, current worldwide situation is specific because of the growing ratio of population living alone. In 2006, there were more than 200 million single-member households in the world. It represents an increase of almost 50 million comparing to the previous decade (Hodgson, 2007). In his study, Hodgson (2007) also predict that in 2020, there will be more than 253 million single-member households in the world. …

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