Time rebound, time prosperity, and sustainable consumption (ReZeitKon)

Despite the increasing application of efficient (allegedly) “time saving“ technology in private households and at the workplace, there is increasing evidence that a lot of people in modern societies experience time scarcity. Obviously, the possibility to perform tasks (as sending an email or buying a product online) in less time than before leads to the situation that more tasks are performed in the same amount of time. This leads to a fragmentation, concentration, and simultaneousness of activities in interchange with the permanent accessibility of ICT infrastructures and devices (as Wi-Fi and smartphones), in part complemented by the outsourcing of household services. As a result of this social acceleration, there is less time at individual disposal that is perceived as “free”. This paradoxical phenomenon of subjectively increasing time pressure as a consequence of increasing application of time efficient technology and processes has not been investigated systematically to date.

The work packages are assigned to two interdependent working fields, which are carried out in parallel to a large extent and which shall provide synergies:

1. Inventory of time rebound effects

  • WP1 Foundations
  • WP2 Representative Survey
  • WP3 Modeling

2. Interventions addressing time rebound effects

  • WP4 Workplace
  • WP5 Private life
  • WP6 School

The relationship between the central constructs time rebound effect, objective time use, subjective time perception, and sustainability of consumption is investigated empirically with the help of the first comprehensive nationwide survey and it is simulated with the help of a computational model.

Fraunhofer ISI (Lead Competence Center Foresight) drafts, develops, runs, and validates a simulation model to assess the time rebound effect and its associated environmental impacts of consumption under the conditions of time scarcity and time affluence:

  • Environmentally Extended Input-Output-Models for the national economy (EE-IO) with extrapolation of the environmental effects in Germany taking into consideration the sample of the representative survey
  • Prospective simulation of time rebound effects with the help of a system dynamics model featuring concise case studies that build upon current debates (e.g., working time regimes, automated driving)

The time rebound effects constructed and anticipated this way will provide insights for the realization of novel technologies and practices as well as additional measures.


09/2018 − 08/2021


  • German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), social-ecological research scheme (SÖF) on the topic “Rebound effects from a social-ecological perspective”


  • TU Berlin, Division of Economic Education and Sustainable Consumption (ALÖNK)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Karlsruhe
  • Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Institute for Environmental Communication