Arnold Kling  

Diamond Age Watch

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Timothy Taylor writes,


Orazio Attanasio, Erik Hurst, and Luigi Pistaferri provide evidence that inequality of consumption has risen as well. But here, I want to focus on another one of their arguments: the rise in inequality of leisure. But there's a twist here: those with more leisure, and who are benefiting from a disproportionate rise in leisure, tend to be those with lower skill levels. The evidence is in "The Evolution of Income, Consumption, and Leisure Inequality in The US, 1980-2010," published as NBER Working Paper #17982 in April 2012.

Life as a thete.


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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution



COMMENTS (5 to date)
Matt C writes:

Many (most?) of the leisure goods I like are getting so cheap that it's almost not worth worrying about the cost of the good. The main cost is the time spent enjoying them.

The worst thing about being poor in the U.S. is having to live around trashy and criminal-ish people. If it wasn't for that, I could live a pretty nice life at a poverty income. Diamond Age, indeed.

jb writes:

Which is why the Neo-Victorians had such a strict code of justice - make the cost of being a criminal high, and you'll get fewer of them. Even when they have nothing better to do.

mark writes:

Free riding is NPV positive

Bryan Willman writes:

To some degree, real wealth relative to others, is the ability to pick more freely the terms of your life.

So, the ability to say one will do no or little work and spend all of one's time at a set of cheap but reasonably satisfying leaisure (sports and games) is indeed a kind of wealth.

Likewise, the ability to choose which major projects will happen, or which climate one resides in during a given season, or which of several cars one might drive, is real wealth.

So it's U shaped - the middle class - who have the least leisure, whose choices are the most constrained by economics and commitments, are in some sense the poorest.

Becky Hargrove writes:

Middle class as the poorest: perhaps that explains the way I have seen some people approach a vacation: as though it were something to be consumed at high velocity on automatic pilot.

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