DP3373 Work and Television

Author(s): Giacomo Corneo
Publication Date: May 2002
Keyword(s): relational goods, television viewing, work hours
JEL(s): D10, H00, J20
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3373

Nowadays, people in OECD countries spend about as much time watching television as earning a living. In this Paper I report a puzzling fact about those time uses: television viewing and work hours are positively correlated across countries. A simple model based on complementarities in the organization of free time is then developed that explains such a pattern as resulting from multiple equilibria. All equilibria can be inversely Pareto-ranked by their amount of television viewing. Arguments are offered to explain why some countries may have settled in a Pareto-inferior equilibrium.