Economist: Daylight Savings Time costs the US $2 billion in opportunity cost.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of American Adults think DST is worth the hassle, but nearly as many (40%) disagree. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
In 2008, economist William F. Shughart did a back-of-the envelope calculation and estimated that the opportunity cost of daylight savings time was $1.7 billion per year:
“Although it is unclear what benefit Americans derive from adjusting their timepieces twice a year, the costs they bear are clear. As the Benjamin Franklin adage goes: Time is money, and time spent resetting clocks and watches is time that cannot be devoted to other, more valuable uses. Switching between daylight saving and standard time has what economists call an ”opportunity cost.”
Economists typically value the opportunity cost of a person’s time at his or her wage rate. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American’s hourly wage was $17.57 in September 2007. Assuming that it takes everyone 10 minutes to move all of their clocks and watches forward or backward by an hour, the opportunity cost of doing so works out to $2.93 per person. Multiplying that number by the total U.S. population (excluding Arizona) yields a one-time opportunity cost for the nation of just under $860 million—or, to be more precise, $858,274,802. Since clocks must be changed twice every year, this back-of-the-envelope calculation must be doubled, to approximately $1.7 billion annually.”
MP: Since 2008, the average hourly wage has increased about 10%, and the U.S. population has increased about 2.9%, so that would put the annual cost today of changing clocks twice a year at almost $2 billion ($1.92 billion).
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).