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Hobbies, Skills and Incentives to Work: The Happy Gardener and the Wealthy Golfer


  • Sällström, Susanna


Two of the earliest inventions of a human capital-intensive technology were for the production of personal internal goods that enabled humans to derive more pleasure out of leisure, namely dance and music. I model the incentives to invent hobbies and to acquire hobby skills, and its implications for the incentives to work and to acquire professional skills. This model explains the economic origins of culture. It was no accident that the intricate steps of tango emerged in the shabby quarters of Buenos Aires, and that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews was the initiative of 22 noble and gentlemen of Fife.

Suggested Citation

  • Sällström, Susanna, 2007. "Hobbies, Skills and Incentives to Work: The Happy Gardener and the Wealthy Golfer," CEPR Discussion Papers 6376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6376

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1992. "Habits, Addictions, and Traditions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 327-345.
    2. Buiter, Willem H. & Kletzer, Kenneth M., 1991. "Persistent differences in national productivity growth rates with a common technology and free capital mobility: The roles of private thrift, public debt, capital taxation, and policy toward human cap," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 325-353, December.
    3. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
    4. Hoff, Karla & Lyon, Andrew B., 1995. "Non-leaky buckets: Optimal redistributive taxation and agency costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 365-390, November.
    5. Owen, John D, 1971. "The Demand for Leisure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(1), pages 56-76, Jan.-Feb..
    6. Gronau, Reuben, 1980. "Home Production-A Forgotten Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 408-416, August.
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    More about this item


    culture; education; hobbies; human capital; leisure; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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