Daylight Savings and GDP
The Economist offers a timely note (h/t Rebecca):
It’s short, but the gist is that Japan could increase productivity, jobs, and reduce the fiscal deficit by adopting daylight savings time. The last paragraph:
“‘The best part is that it doesn’t cost anything,” chirps Mr Alkire. “It’s a real fiscal stimulus without any money.’
Adopting DST would increase Japan’s GDP by more than ¥1.2 trillion (around $15 billion) annually, according to the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute. The Japan Productivity Centre, another research outfit, reckons it could generate 100,000 jobs. Public approval for DST is growing, from 40% in the 1990s to around 60% today. Heizo Takenaka, a former cabinet minister, says it nearly passed in 2005 but fell victim to bureaucratic infighting. The bigger problem, says Mr Alkire, is that schools and firms own students’ and employees’ time. Extra daylight is less help if people are stuck indoors.”
DST is popular to hate, but I’ve always liked it, except the clock setting (and forgetting the clock setting). Now all my clocks I care about set themselves.
Why the claim that Daylight Savings boosts the economy? (Particularly the Japanese economy. When i was living there the Japanese seemed even more workaholic than Americans, despite having widespread lifetime job security.)
I haven’t looked at the question for years, but my impression was that Daylight Savings has had little effect on economic growth. Apparently there is new evidence, but what?
I get up before the sunrise everyday. This is a reality for those of us who have outside tasks to perform in hot climates. I’d rather we follow Arizona’s lead and abolish day light savings time. Instead of getting up at 4:30 am in the summer I could sleep till 5:30. Screw consumption I want sleep.
Especially on a site like this that challenges the orthodoxy, accepting the claims of increased production seems beyond merely credulous.
All sorts of assumptions are rolled into the DST calculations, such as that you turn on lights and the TV the minute you get home. They overlook approaches that could have much greater societal benefit, such as staggered work hours, resulting in less traffic congestion, a horrible time-killer and fuel-waster in much of the US, almost certainly, in Japan, too.
My own work has me at my desk well before 6AM PT, and I’m used to the fact that I march to a different drummer. That 5AM commute is a breeze, and I almost always find free parking. Not that I watched Conan or Stewart before I took this tack, so missing weeknight “entertainment” is a small price.
It reminds me that China is on a single time zone, and suggests that the US could benefit from the same. Yup, collapse 6 time zones into one.
West Coast stores might open noon to 10PM; East coast stores 9-7. Every store ALREADY sets its own hours, unless the mall that they’re in does it for them. Locals would get used to “later” times Schools in the midwest could usually run 8-3 but each district sets its own hours anyway, why not a bit more local decision-making rather than trying to have the whole US lock-stepped into plans that might work a lot better for say, Philadelphia than Seattle?
And when I talk to a colleague in Indiana about a conference call with a client in South Dakota, I don’t have to wonder what time zone anybody is in. 10AM is 10AM. Looks like the US has 10 states with multiple time zones, a royal hassle for this type of communication within the US free trade zone.
Touche. No analysis given but an odd tidbit. One time zone for geographic trade zones. How does that work in China in reality?