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Is it Pleasure or Health from Leisure that We Benefit from Most? An Analysis of Well-Being Alternatives and Implications for Policy

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  • Paul Downward

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  • Peter Dawson

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Abstract

International policy now constantly advocates a need for populations to engage in more physical activity to promote health and to reduce society’s health care costs. Such policy has developed guidelines on recommended levels and intensity of physical activity and implicitly equates health with well-being. It is assumed that individual, and hence social welfare will be enhanced if the activity guidelines are met. This paper challenges that claim and raises questions for public policy priorities. Using an instrumental variable analysis to value the well-being from active leisure, it is shown that the well-being experienced from active leisure that is not of a recommended intensity to generate health benefits, perhaps due to its social, recreational or fun purpose, has a higher value of well-being than active leisure that does meet the guidelines. This suggests rethinking the motivation and foundation of existing policy and perhaps a realignment of priorities towards activity that has a greater contribution to social welfare through its intrinsic fun and possibly social interaction. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

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  • Paul Downward & Peter Dawson, 2016. "Is it Pleasure or Health from Leisure that We Benefit from Most? An Analysis of Well-Being Alternatives and Implications for Policy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 443-465, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:126:y:2016:i:1:p:443-465
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-0887-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Piper & Ian Jackson, 2017. "She’s leaving home: a large sample investigation of the empty nest syndrome," Danish-German Working Papers 006, Europa-Universität Flensburg, International Institute of Management (IIM);University of Southern Denmark, Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management.
    2. Piper, Alan T., 2018. "An investigation into the reported closing of the Nicaraguan gender gap," MPRA Paper 86769, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:spr:ariqol:v:13:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11482-017-9536-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:spomar:v:20:y:2017:i:4:p:325-337 is not listed on IDEAS

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