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 22: The Impact of New Technology on Leisure Networks

Vincent G. Fitzsimons


Vincent G. Fitzsimons INTRODUCTION Previous chapters have looked at leisure choices. In the models associated with this, interaction with others is for mainly instrumental purposes. For example, to play a competitive sport, even in a friendly manner, requires other participants. Obviously, additional utility may arise from social interaction with fellow players. In this chapter, we consider situations where social interaction in itself can become sufficient as an activity. This social interaction has been facilitated by the expansion of information technology which greatly reduces the transaction costs of interacting with another person. It is not without costs, however, mainly in the form of risks to individual safety and well-being, although there may also be ‘hidden’ pecuniary costs in the way that entry to leisure networks is priced. While a limited set of opportunities for leisure existed in medieval times, some activities were recognizable forerunners to modern forms of leisure. Religious festivals were particularly important as they provided opportunities for socializing, religious observance, part of which involved public readings of religious tracts, and collective feasting for the community (the basis of the idea of companionship, from com and panis, or breaking bread with others). In many respects, these were the main forms of social leisure of the period, until the decline in religious feast days following the Reformation. More secular breaks in the routine were the tournaments which feudal nobility participated in at first as competitions of military skills, but later more as symbolic or sporting occasions (Thomas, 1961; Larrabee, 1989). As...

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