- Elgar original reference
Edited by Samuel Cameron
Chapter 5: The Economics of Sleep and Boredom
Samuel Cameron INTRODUCTION It might be deemed reasonable to include a chapter touching on boredom in a book on leisure, as ‘leisure boredom’ is one of the indices used in empirical studies of boredom. In their study of high school dropout rates in Cape Town, South Africa, Wegner et al. (2008) define ‘leisure boredom’ as ‘the perception that leisure experiences do not satisfy the need for optimal arousal’ (p. 421). The use of the term ‘optimal’ ought to pique the interest of economists. Boredom scholars also use scales for sexual boredom which might be deemed to be relevant to leisure boredom in some contexts. Sleep is an area in which there have been some mainstream economics papers, and its leisure relevance is hard to ignore as most people spend a figure approaching a third of their life doing it. In the corner solution, where we could rid ourselves totally of the need to sleep, then we would have in the region of over 2,700 hours a year ‘extra’ to earn money and enjoy ourselves in leisure activity. Sleep and boredom are not areas of leisure which we find addressed in government policy initiatives very often1 yet they are important for a number of obvious reasons. It is claimed that boredom can have deleterious health consequences particularly for the young by causing selfdamaging consumption choices and also leading to depression. Too much or too little sleep influences both the quality and productivity of work and leisure activity through accidents, health...
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