Leisure, Single-Mindedness, and Politics, Casey B. Mulligan and Xavier X. Sala-i-Martin

Working Paper Columbia University, September 1999.



We argue that leisure and politics are intimately intertwined. A person’s employment status affects the type of political pressure he applies and also perhaps the overall amount of his political activity. In aggregate, the amount of leisure and by whom it is enjoyed have important effects on public decisions. Conversely, taxes and regulations are designed by the state to affect who enjoys leisure and how much. We prove these claims in an interest group model and use the results to explain why members of an interest group often have occupation in common, why the old are politically successful, why taxes and subsidies discourage work, and why unions press for shorter workweeks