The Allocation of Time to Sports and Cultural Activities: An Analysis of Individual Decisions

Article excerpt


Participation in sports and participation in cultural activities are usually considered separately in economic empirical studies. Because both of these activities are forms of leisure, this paper analyzes the determination of their consumption as joint and related decisions. Our theoretical framework is the neoclassical theory of the allocation of time. Our empirical analysis begins with a Constant Elasticity Substitution (CES) utility function, which we use to estimate the decision to participate in sports and cultural activities in the first stage. Conditional on the results of this stage, we then estimate the amount of time allocated to these activities. The data come from the Time Use Survey implemented by the National Statistics Office (INE) in 2002-2003. In this survey, the time allocated to sports and cultural activities in a single day is collected for each individual in detail. The results reveal a complementary relationship between the two activities and suggest that males and females exhibit different behaviors.

Keywords: sports demand, cultural demand, constant elasticity substitution, seemingly unrelated regression

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Sports and culture are rarely linked in academic research. While a burgeoning literature exists in both cultural and sport economics, both subjects have generally been studied in isolation despite their clear similarities: Both are forms of leisure time allocation that may be jointly chosen by individuals. This common feature justifies a joint analysis of both activities.

An interesting question addressed in this article is whether these leisure activities tend to be demanded jointly or separately. On one hand, both activities may be considered as a social occasion and a chance to spend time and socialize with others. On the other hand, sports and cultural activities are time-intensive goods and may compete for individual leisure time.

The aim of this research is to analyze the individual's decision to allocate time to sports and cultural activities using the neoclassical consumption theory. In Spain, the literature on sports participation (we include physical activity) from an economic perspective is scarce and, as far as we know, no articles study both of these leisure activities. García et al. (2009) develop a structural model of the allocation of time to sports and leisure, assuming a Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) utility function. The current paper builds upon García et al.'s model by adding another use of leisure time: time devoted to cultural activities. Thus, we specify a model that defines three uses of time besides working time: sports, cultural, and other leisure activities. This model leads to a system of three demand equations for time not allocated to work, which are estimated using the Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) method.

The dataset used in this research is "La Encuesta de Empleo del Tiempo" (Spanish Time Use Survey, 2002-2003) conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE; National Statistics Office) according to the Eurostat guidelines for harmonized European time use surveys. The distinctive feature of this database is a diary that provides information on the activities of each individual across a given day, provided in 10 min intervals.

Literature Review

Sports Economics

There is a wide body of literature on sports economics, including several textbooks and handbooks that analyze various aspects of interest to economists.1Moreover, there is growing economic literature that specifically examines sports participation, among which it is worth mentioning Humphreys and Ruseski (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010); Downward and Riordan (2007); Wicker, Breuer, and Pawlowski (2009); and Downward and Rasciute (2010).

The research on mass participation in sports draws upon two major theoretical approaches: the neoclassical theory and the heterodox economics approach. …