Time Budget

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Budget, Time


or time budget of the population, a system of indexes characterizing the distribution of time expenditure (by days, weeks, months, years) according to the ways it is utilized, both by the individual (industrial worker, office worker, collective farmer, and so on) and by his family, as well as by specific groups of the population. To determine the time budget, special studies are conducted, in the process of which the time expenditures are considered for specific time intervals and in accordance with an accepted classification system (in hours, minutes, and percentages of the given fund of time). The detailed investigation of the time budget is an important means of studying the life and daily concerns of the population. The total time budget fund is usually divided into: working time (time spent on actual work, time spent between job assignments and otherwise unproductively during working hours, time spent on regulated work breaks, time spent going on and going off shifts); and nonworking time, which includes the time spent on housework, personal needs, travel to and from work, satisfaction of physiological needs (sleep, meals), free time (studies, self-education, active recreation, and so on). Time budget data make it possible to study those aspects of the standard of living that cannot be measured in money or in kind. The time budget provides a picture of the division of labor in the family and a basis for investigating the prospective development of cultural needs and changes in the structure of free time. Development of survey and prospective time budgets, both for the entire population of the country and for specific social groups, is one of the methodological elements in calculating the standards of cultural and service enterprises and institutions required for the population; the budgets are also a means of substantiating the need to set up more of such enterprises and institutions. Time budget studies are one way of improving the methodology and methods of estimating labor resources, not only in physical units but also in time units. Time budget analysis is used to develop procedures for the improvement of labor efficiency and the organization of services and leisure-time activities for the public. The time budget has acquired particular significance in connection with the transition in the USSR to a five-day workweek with two free days. Comparative studies of the time budgets of the urban and rural population help to deal with the social problem of eliminating the main differences between town and village.

No studies of the time budgets of specific categories of the population were conducted in prerevolutionary Russia. In the USSR, time budget investigation may be divided into three main stages. The first stage was the 1920’s, when several major studies of the time budgets of working people were conducted with a view to analyzing the changes that had taken place in their lives after the victory of the October Revolution and also with a view to dealing with some of the tasks that confronted early Soviet society. During that period, time budget study was headed by the Soviet economist S. G. Strumilin. The second stage was the late 1920’s and the 1930’s, when the seven-hour workday was introduced in the USSR, a change which greatly influenced the daily lives of Soviet people. Data from time budget studies in the early 1930’s were published in the statistical handbooks Labor in the USSR (1934-36). Statistical bodies also began to conduct time budget studies in this period (for example, of kolkhoz farmers). The third stage covers the 1950’s on, when the program for shortening the working day required investigation of the time budgets of working people in order to find out what changes were occurring in their lives and to put into effect measures for increasing the output per man-hour, for raising the material standards and the cultural level of the Soviet people, and improving national economic planning.

In 1957-60, the Labor Scientific Research Institute started to conduct time budget studies among the toiling masses at individual enterprises in Moscow, Leningrad, and other cities. These time budget studies covered approximately 2,000 people. In 1960 the Labor Scientific Research Institute also conducted studies of the time budget of kolkhoz farmers in Kherson Oblast and Altai Krai. At the end of 1958 the Institute of Economics and the Organization of Industrial Production of the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR began to study the time budgets of workers in Novosibirsk. In 1959-60 the same institute, under G. A. Prudenskii, directed time budget studies in major regions of the USSR. In Siberia (Krasnoiarsk Krai, Novosibirsk and Kemerovo oblasts, and the city of Omsk), about 13,000 daily time budgets of blue-collar and white-collar workers and scientific researchers were obtained and analyzed in 1958-60. Studies were also conducted in Sverdlovsk, Kostroma, and other cities. In 1958-60 more than 21,500 daily time budgets were studied in urban and rural areas of the USSR (this does not include specialized studies). The most extensive time budget studies in the USSR were conducted in Irkutsk, Taganrog, and Gorky in 1962, in Krasnoiarsk Krai and in Ivanovo, Rostov, and Sverdlovsk oblasts in 1963, in Leningrad in 1964, and in Pskov in 1965. Altogether, more than 150,000 daily time budgets were obtained in the USSR from 1958 to 1965.

Time budget studies are conducted by economists and sociologists in socialist and also in capitalist countries. In 1959 an international group of sociologists for the study of time budgets was formed in UNESCO. Time budget studies are conducted in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, the United States, and Japan. Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, and the USSR conducted comprehensive research of time budget problems under a program advanced in 1963 by the editors of the journal Problemy mira i sotsializma (Problems of Peace and Socialism; Prague). In 1964 the European center of UNESCO (in Vienna) decided to conduct an international study on the comparison of time budgets in 1965. A discussion of the program of this study was held in Budapest (1965) with the participation of Belgium, Hungary, Poland, the USSR, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Yugoslavia. Bulgaria, Peru, the United States, and Czechoslovakia subsequently joined the program. Socialist and capitalist countries of Europe and America took part in comparative international sociological time budget studies in 1968.


Strumilin, S. G. Problemy ekonomiki truda. Moscow, 1957.
Prudenskii, G. A. Vremia i trud. Moscow, 1965.
Vidrevich, Ia. V. Biudzhet vremeni i zarabotnaia plata spetsialistov. [Moscow]. 1930. Second edition, Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Mikheev, V. Biudzhet vremeni rabochikh i sluzhashchikh Moskvy i Moskovskoi oblasti. Moscow-Leningrad, 1932.
Lebedev-Patreiko, V., G. Rabinovich, and D. Rodin. Biudzhet vremeni rabochei sem’i. Leningrad, 1933.
Vnerabochee vremia trudiashchikhsia. Edited by G. A. Prudenskii. Novosibirsk, 1961.
Metodologicheskie voprosy izucheniia urovnia zhizni trudiashchikhsia, 2nd ed. Edited by I. Iu. Pisarev. Moscow, 1962.
Bolgov, V. I. Vnerabochee vremia i uroven’ zhizni trudiashchikhsia. Novosibirsk, 1964.
Petrosian, G. S. Vnerabochee vremia trudiashchikhsia v SSSR. Moscow, 1965.
Patrushev, V. D. Vremia kak ekonomicheskaia kategoriia. Moscow, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
Artemov, V. A., V. I. Bolgov, and O. V. Vol’skaia. Statistika biudzhetov vremeni trudiashchikhsia. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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