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Social restrictions, leisure and well-being

Foliano, Francesca, Tonei, Valentina and Sevilla, Almudena (2024) Social restrictions, leisure and well-being. Labour Economics, 87. ISSN 0927-5371

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.labeco.2023.102485


A wide-ranging public debate surrounds how pandemic lockdown measures differentially impacted individuals and which precise mechanisms – whether financial-, health-, or policy-driven – predominate in determining these effects. Using a nationally representative 24-h diary survey covering the first two years of the pandemic, we explore potential mechanisms underlying changes in well-being. We exploit the variation in the stringency of the social restrictions implemented by the UK government during this period and use an event-study methodology to net out the impact of social restrictions from other pandemic effects. We find that well-being dropped by 47 % (for men) and 71 % (for women) of a standard deviation during the strictest lockdown and that it took longer to revert to pre-pandemic levels than previously estimated. This finding holds after we account for financial conditions and changes in local infection and death rates, suggesting that the time use–related changes driven by social restrictions dominate financial and health shocks in driving the overall well-being effects during the pandemic. Our detailed data on time allocation and individual preferences over the activities undertaken throughout the day suggest that the drop in well-being was primarily associated to a drastic reduction in time spent in leisure with non–household members or outside the home, a category with greater weight in the well-being of women.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Social Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I10 - General
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2024 14:24
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 18:15

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