Leisure Subjective Well Being Approach

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Introduction / Summary

In previous contributions, there should have been wide discussions to draw the limits of leisure. I would like to get assistance one that you have read those chapters, in order to write some introductory paragraph that lets the reader know if my contribution is particularly related to some other one. In this contribution, I will analyze it by using the subjective well-being approach.

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I will use the "leisure experience" dimension (as described bellow), and I will study the determinants of subjective well-being. There will be plenty of conceptual discussion, some regularities will be reported, an empirical exercise will be performed – results analyzed, and some insights for future research will be presented.

In this paper, we will study leisure and its beneficial aspects over individual welfare by using a quite new approach: the subjective well-being or happiness approach to measure individual welfare. Along the discussion, we will present two main points. First, we will discuss on the dimensions of leisure in order to justify that by using subjective well-being procedures, we can get a comprehensive approximation to the, somehow difficult to measure, leisure concept. Second, to determine which are the personal and environmental factors that are needed so an individual can produce and consume enjoyable leisure experiences.

Along our discussion, we are not going to consider that leisure is just free time, i.e. time that is neither dedicated to market work, nor to household maintenance activities. We are not even going to consider that leisure is discretionary time (Goodin, et al. 2005). What we state is that leisure is a universal human need that has to be fulfilled by the production in the household and the personal consumption of what we may call "leisure experiences". Each experience is a commodity that enters directly in the individual’s utility function. This means that leisure is one of the arguments of the utility function of the individual, one of the instances from which she will get welfare. By doing this, we will adopt from the beginning a beckerian approach (Becker, 1965, and 1990). Other commodities that correspond to basic needs are sleep, lodging, appearance, eating, childcare, leisure, health, travel and miscellaneous needs (Gronau and Hamermesh, 2006). From that list of commodities, if we focus on those produced with different combinations of time and goods, there is evidence that leisure is the most time intensive one. So leisure time will be an essential input for the production and consumption of enjoyable leisure.

In the same line, there is a second distinct trait in the leisure commodity: the first person criterion. If any of the other commodities can be produced by a third part (or even purchased in the market) and be latter consumed by the individual, leisure has to be produced and consumed by the individual himself.

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