The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Lars Osberg
Reference work entry


Economists have typically defined ‘leisure’ residually, as equal to ‘non-work time’, and, despite the problematic classification of enjoyable jobs, commuting time and unemployment, presumed that individuals derive utility from non-work time and disutility from working time. However, a recent literature now emphasizes ‘social leisure’ and coordination problems in leisure time. Since longer working hours by some individuals make arranging a social life more difficult for others (thereby decreasing the utility of their non-work time), externalities in time use may create multiple possible equilibria in time use, which may explain the sharp divergence in working hours between Europe and the United States.


Becker, G. External economies Goods-intensive commodities Individualism Labour supply Leisure Marriage Social capital Social interaction Time use Time-intensive commodities Unemployment Well-being 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Osberg
    • 1
  1. 1.