Handbook on the Economics of Leisure
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Handbook on the Economics of Leisure

Edited by Samuel Cameron

Surprisingly, the field of leisure economics is not, thus far, a particularly integrated or coherent one. In this Handbook a wide ranging body of international scholars get to grips with the core issues, taking in the traditional income/leisure choice model of textbook microeconomics and Becker’s allocation of time model along the way. They expertly apply economics to some usually neglected topics, such as boredom and sleeping, work–life balance, dating, tourism, health and fitness, sport, video games, social networking, music festivals and sex. Contributions from further afield by Veblen, Sctivosky and Bourdieu also feature prominently.
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Chapter 6: Half Full or Half Empty: The Economics of Work–Life Balance

Samuel Cameron and Mark Fox


Samuel Cameron and Mark Fox INTRODUCTION All life we work but work is a bore, if life’s for livin’ what’s livin’ for? (‘Oklahoma U.S.A.’, composed by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks in 1971) Here we develop, in a more applied context, some themes covered in earlier chapters. We do this by examining an issue that has become prominent in modern life – that is, the issue of balancing one’s work with one’s life. We use the term ‘life’ as in ‘having a life’ and ‘quality of life’. The idea of achieving work–life balance implies that the enjoyment of leisure is a respite from work and other pressures. As evidenced in the wellknown work of Linder (1970), work–life pressures have had an increasing effect on women as market economies have moved towards the norm of a working mother, who may also be pursuing a career in an ambitious manner. Today, divorced and single-parent households are also commonplace. Furthermore, in many Western societies we see ageing populations, with employees increasingly juggling work obligations with providing care for elderly relatives. Increased business competition adds to the challenges of work–life balance. Technology provides the means for customers and suppliers to contact employees anytime and anywhere, with the expectation of a quick response. Technology also blurs the lines between work and ‘life’ by enabling employees (while ostensibly working) to communicate with family members and friends, and to take care of personal matters such as shopping or arranging to meet friends (Simmers...

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