October 2001

IZA DP No. 376: Work and Television

published in: European Journal of Political Economy, 2005, 21 (1), 99-113

Evidence from a sample of countries show that people roughly spend as much time watching television as earning their living. Moreover, television viewing and work hours are positively correlated across countries. A simple model based on complementarities in the organization of free time is developed that explains such a pattern as resulting from multiple equilibria. In this model the equilibria can be inversely Pareto-ranked by their amount of television viewing. Arguments are offered to explain why in some countries a Pareto-inferior equilibrium might have come into being.