Some work and some play: microscopic and macroscopic approaches to labor and leisure.
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However, averaging over the more microscopic processes that govern choices is known to pose tricky theoretical problems, and also eschews any possibility of direct contact with the neural computations involved.We develop a microscopic framework, formalized as a semi-Markov decision process with possibly stochastic choices, in which subjects approximately maximise their expected returns by making momentary commitments to one or other activity.We show macroscopic utilities that arise from microscopic ones, and demonstrate how facets such as imperfect substitutability can arise in a more straightforward microscopic manner.
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PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
ABSTRACT
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Given the option, humans and other animals elect to distribute their time between work and leisure, rather than choosing all of one and none of the other. Traditional accounts of partial allocation have characterised behavior on a macroscopic timescale, reporting and studying the mean times spent in work or leisure. However, averaging over the more microscopic processes that govern choices is known to pose tricky theoretical problems, and also eschews any possibility of direct contact with the neural computations involved. We develop a microscopic framework, formalized as a semi-Markov decision process with possibly stochastic choices, in which subjects approximately maximise their expected returns by making momentary commitments to one or other activity. We show macroscopic utilities that arise from microscopic ones, and demonstrate how facets such as imperfect substitutability can arise in a more straightforward microscopic manner. Related in: MedlinePlus |
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Mentions: In labor supply theory [1], subjects are assumed to maximize their macroscopic utility by trading (i) income from working (worth per reward), against (ii) leisure (worth, in the simplest case, a marginal utility of per unit time). Let be the total number of rewards that a subject accumulates, and be the cumulative amount of time spent in leisure. A commonly assumed form of macroscopic utility function is [14], [15]. (1)where is a dimensionless number representing the degree of substitutability, the willingness to replace rewards (or work) with leisure. Fig.1 shows the indifference curves (IC)â€“contours of equal utility. A subject is indifferent between combinations of these goods along an IC, but combinations on an IC with greater utility are preferred. The slope of an IC, the negative of which is called the marginal rate of substitution, shows how willing a subject is to substitute one good with the other, depending on how much of each it has already accumulated. Given a fixed total trial time (a budget constraint; BC Eq. (A-1) in Text S1), subjects must maximise their macroscopic utilities; this occurs for the combination of goods at which the BC is tangent to an IC or is at a boundary. |
View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed
Affiliation: Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London, United Kingdom.