Leisure-enhancing technological change

休闲促进技术变革

2019/05/24 00:00
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对照中文英文原文
我们如何度过时间正在迅速改变。本专栏认为,一个重要的驱动力是休闲创新,旨在捕捉我们的时间、注意力和数据。提高休闲时间的技术可以帮助解释整个工业化世界休闲时间的增加和生产力的下降。它们的性质对

How we spend our time is changing rapidly. This column argues that an important driver is leisure-enhancing innovation, aimed at capturing our time, attention, and data. Leisure-enhancing technologies can help account for both the rise in leisure hours and the decline in productivity observed across the industrialised world. Their nature carries important implications for the long-run viability of the platforms’ business models, for measurement of economic activity, and for welfare.

我们如何度过时间正在迅速改变。本专栏认为,一个重要的驱动力是休闲创新,旨在捕捉我们的时间、注意力和数据。提高休闲时间的技术可以帮助解释整个工业化世界休闲时间的增加和生产力的下降。它们的性质对平台的业务模型的长期可行性、对经济活动的度量和对福利有着重要的影响。

Our time, attention, and data are central in today’s economy. We spend ever more time glued to our screens, while businesses innovate tirelessly to attract ‘eyeballs.’ Clearly, the leisure economy has redefined the way we spend our time. Perhaps less obviously, it has had a profound impact on the macroeconomy.

我们的时间、注意力和数据是当今经济的核心。我们花在屏幕上的时间越来越多,而企业不知疲倦地创新以吸引“眼球”。显然,休闲经济重新定义了我们的时间分配方式。或许不那么明显的是,它对宏观经济产生了深远的影响。

Economists have studied time allocation decisions at least since the seminal work of Becker (1965). More recently, research noted the decline in average hours worked and the steady rise in leisure hours (Aguiar and Hurst 2007, Boppart and Krusell 2016), and considered the impact of some technologies such as video games on labour market participation (Aguiar et al. 2017).

至少从贝克尔(Becker, 1965)的开创性著作开始,经济学家就开始研究时间分配决策。最近,研究注意到平均工作时间的下降和休闲时间的稳步增长(Aguiar and Hurst 2007, Boppart and Krusell 2016),并考虑了电子游戏等一些技术对劳动力市场参与的影响(Aguiar et al. 2017)。

A new model to analyse the leisure economy

一种新的休闲经济分析模型

In a recent paper (Rachel 2019), I consider the underlying economic drivers and the long-run consequences of the leisure economy. The theory speaks to  three salient real-world facts: the increase in leisure hours over the long-run and the dramatic rise in the use of leisure technologies more recently (Figure 1), the rising importance of the free economy (Figure 2), and the disappointingly low productivity growth across the developed world (the ‘productivity puzzle’).

在最近的一篇论文(Rachel 2019)中,我考虑了休闲经济的潜在经济驱动力和长期后果。理论证明三个突出的现实世界的事实:在休闲时间增加长期和休闲技术最近的使用急剧增加(图1),自由经济的重要性上升(图2),和令人失望的低生产率增长在整个发达世界(“生产率之谜”)。

Figure 1 Average time spent on media consumption per adult in the US

图1美国成年人平均花在媒体消费上的时间

Source: Nielsen.

来源:尼尔森。

Notes: Figures for representative samples of total US population (whether or not they have the technology). Data on TV and internet usage and the usage of TV-connected devices are based on 248,095 individuals in 2016 and similar sample sizes in previous years. Data on radio are based on a sample of around 400,000 individuals. There are approximately 9,000 smartphone- and 1,300 tablet-panellists in the US across both iOS and Android smartphone devices. More than one device may be used at any time.

注:美国总人口的代表性样本数据(无论他们是否拥有该技术)。关于电视和互联网使用以及电视连接设备使用的数据是基于2016年248095名个人以及前几年类似的样本量。无线电数据是基于大约40万人的样本。在美国,iOS和Android智能手机设备的智能手机用户约有9000人,平板电脑用户约有1300人。任何时候都可以使用多个设备。

Figure 2 Free ad-supported consumer content in the US

图2美国免费广告支持的消费者内容

Source: Nakamura et al. (2017). The figure shows the ratio of free consumer content, measured by the costs of production, to GDP. Thus, for example, it does not capture a welfare measure of the value of Facebook, but only measures the cost of providing it.

资料来源:中村等人(2017)。图中显示了以生产成本衡量的免费消费者内容占GDP的比例。因此,举例来说,它没有捕捉到Facebook价值的福利衡量指标,而只是衡量提供它的成本。

I focus on leisure-enhancing innovations – services that are supplied free of charge and are designed specifically to draw in viewers. Such innovations make economic sense because the attention they attract can profitably be used for advertising. Building this simple mechanism into a macroeconomic model of innovation-driven growth helps explain some of the salient puzzles observed in the data. The theory explains why so much innovation takes place in the leisure sector, and elucidates the puzzling disconnect between technology, which seems to be racing ahead, and productivity, which is stagnant. It accounts for the rapidly changing time-allocation patterns. It also carries implications for measurement of GDP, and, by highlighting the inefficiencies of market equilibrium, forms a useful framework for thinking about policy.

我专注于提高休闲的创新——免费提供的服务,专门为吸引观众而设计。这些创新在经济上是有意义的,因为它们所吸引的注意力可以被用于广告。将这种简单的机制构建为创新驱动增长的宏观经济模型,有助于解释数据中观察到的一些突出谜题。这一理论解释了为什么休闲行业会有如此多的创新,并解释了似乎正在飞速发展的科技与停滞不前的生产力之间令人费解的脱节。它解释了快速变化的时间分配模式。它还对国内生产总值(GDP)的衡量产生影响,并通过强调市场均衡的低效,形成了一个思考政策的有用框架。

The model incorporates several aspects of leisure technologies that make them particularly fascinating. These services are often provided free of charge, which requires thinking carefully about the reasons why they are produced in the first place. They are non-rival, meaning that a person’s use does not prevent simultaneous use by others. In fact, they involve strong network effects; we like entertainment options that are popular.

该模型融合了休闲技术的几个方面,使其特别引人入胜。这些服务通常是免费提供的,这就需要仔细考虑为什么要首先提供这些服务。它们是非竞争的,意思是一个人的使用并不妨碍其他人同时使用。事实上,它们涉及强大的网络效应;我们喜欢流行的娱乐选择。

Two novel mechanisms are considered: (i) supply of people’s out-of-work time and attention and (ii) demand for advertising.

考虑了两种新的机制:(i)人们失业时间和注意力的供应和(ii)广告需求。

On the first, consumers choose how much time to spend on ‘marketable‘ leisure – on the activities that allow for our time and attention to be used commercially, such as social media or TV – based on the abundance and attractiveness of the available leisure services (and, in the case with network effects, on how popular these options are in the population). Leisure innovations make these activities more desirable and drive higher ‘eyeball supply’ in equilibrium.

第一,消费者选择多少时间花在“市场”休闲——的活动,让我们的时间和精力用于商业,如社交媒体或电视——基于可用的丰度和吸引力的休闲服务(网络效应的情况,在人群中流行的这些选项如何)。休闲创新使这些活动更受欢迎,并在平衡中驱动更高的“眼球供应”。

On the second, firms producing differentiated consumer goods and services can attempt to boost demand for their product through advertising. The central player in the theory – the platform – connects the two sides of this market, providing continually improving leisure services to customers, and turning their time and attention into valuable advertising service sold to the firms.

第二,生产差异化消费品和服务的公司可以尝试通过广告来刺激对其产品的需求。该理论的核心参与者——平台——连接着这个市场的两端,不断为客户提供完善的休闲服务,并将他们的时间和注意力转化为有价值的广告服务,销售给公司。

Lessons for the growth of the platforms

平台成长的经验教训

The theory suggests that the leisure sector inevitably emerges as a natural part of the growth process when both sides of the market are large enough to make the platform profitable. This may help explain the rapid emergence of the leisure economy over the past couple of decades. Today, firms involved in supplying these services are hugely profitable. The top six of the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Alibaba – are platforms whose business models rely, at least in part, on capturing peoples’ time and attention. These platforms are often seen as the innovation leaders of today.

该理论表明,当市场双方都足够大,足以让平台盈利时,休闲行业不可避免地成为增长过程中的一个自然组成部分。这或许有助于解释过去几十年休闲经济的迅速崛起。如今,提供这些服务的公司利润丰厚。全球市值最大的六家公司——苹果(Apple)、Alphabet、微软(Microsoft)、亚马逊(Amazon)、Facebook和阿里巴巴(Alibaba)——的商业模式至少在一定程度上依赖于吸引人们的时间和注意力。这些平台通常被视为当今的创新领导者。

Interestingly, there are also implications for the future of such a business model. Specifically, for the economy with leisure technologies to adopt a balanced growth path – that is, to grow steadily over the long run – additional restrictions are needed. First, consumers’ enjoyment of leisure should not diminish as leisure consumption rises. This condition may be embedded directly in preferences or it may emerge as a result of the aforementioned network effects.

有趣的是,这种商业模式的未来也会受到影响。具体地说,休闲技术经济要采用平衡的增长路径,即长期稳定增长,还需要更多的限制。首先,消费者对休闲的享受不应随着休闲消费的增加而减少。这种情况可能直接嵌入到首选项中,也可能由于前面提到的网络效应而出现。

More importantly, balanced growth requires the technology used by platforms to produce marketing services that exhibit increasing returns to scale. This could be justified by platforms becoming increasingly better informed about consumers’ tastes and preferences, and being able to target advertising more effectively, perhaps through the use of all-powerful machine learning models. But it is not completely clear whether this can continue ad infinitum. For instance, Varian (2017) shows that the prediction accuracy of machine learning algorithms increases with a square root of the number of observations, suggesting that decreasing returns may eventually kick in.

更重要的是,平衡增长需要平台所使用的技术来生产具有规模效益的营销服务。平台越来越多地了解消费者的品味和偏好,或许通过使用功能强大的机器学习模型,能够更有效地定位广告,这些都证明了这一点。但目前还不完全清楚这种情况是否会一直持续下去。例如Varian(2017)的研究表明,机器学习算法的预测精度随着观测次数的平方根而增加,这意味着最终可能会出现收益下降的情况。

Leisure, innovation and growt

休闲、创新、成长

As the range of leisure options increases, people spend more time on leisure, meaning that ever more resources are directed towards innovation in the leisure sector. This has adverse implications for the tangible economy. In particular, in the paper, I show analytically that the growth rate of knowledge, or total factor productivity (TFP), declines once the leisure sector emerges. The long-run growth rate is ultimately driven by the growth of peoples’ creative time at work (specifically, the growth rate of R&D hours). Because leisure technologies successfully compete for peoples’ time, including creative time, productivity growth slows.

随着休闲选择范围的扩大,人们花在休闲上的时间越来越多,这意味着越来越多的资源被用于休闲领域的创新。这对有形经济有不利影响。特别是,在这篇论文中,我分析显示,一旦休闲行业出现,知识的增长率,即全要素生产率(TFP)就会下降。长期增长率最终是由人们工作中创造性时间的增长(特别是研发时间的增长)所驱动的。由于休闲技术成功地争夺了人们的时间,包括创造性时间,生产率增长放缓。

This channel provides a novel explanation for the productivity puzzle: technology (inclusive of leisure technology) races ahead, but productivity stagnates.

这个频道为生产力难题提供了一个新颖的解释:科技(包括休闲科技)领先,但生产力停滞不前。

While more work is needed to quantify those effects more precisely, a simple, illustrative calibration suggests that they may be substantial. The endogenous emergence of the leisure sector explains nearly a one percentage point decline in TFP growth and over a one percentage point decline in the equilibrium real interest rate (Figure 3).

虽然需要更多的工作来更精确地量化这些影响,但一个简单的说明性校准表明,这些影响可能是实质性的。休闲产业的内生出现解释了TFP增长下降近1个百分点和均衡实际利率下降超过1个百分点的原因(图3)。

Figure 3 Endogenous transition of the economy following the emergence of the leisure-sector

图3休闲部门出现后经济的内生转型


Measurement and welfare

测量和福利

The model also carries implications for the measurement of GDP. Because they are priced at zero, the value of leisure services is difficult to measure. Indeed, as currently measured, GDP does not capture any of the value these services generate. My model can be used for counterfactual measurement analysis. For example, one way of measuring the value of leisure services is to value leisure time at an ongoing market wage rate. Figure 4 shows the comparison between the level of GDP as measured currently and the path under that alternative assumption.

该模型对GDP的衡量也有意义。由于它们的定价为零,休闲服务的价值很难衡量。事实上,按照目前的衡量,GDP并没有包含这些服务产生的任何价值。我的模型可用于反事实测量分析。例如,衡量休闲服务价值的一种方法就是以持续的市场工资水平来衡量休闲时间的价值。图4显示了当前测量的GDP水平与该替代假设下的路径之间的比较。

The bottom line is that the growth rate of the economy following the transition is permanently lower, consistent with recent experience in the US and other advanced countries. However, GDP growth as measured by statistical agencies today does not account for the true value of leisure services and so exaggerates the extent of the slowdown.

底线是,转型后的经济增长率将永远处于较低水平,这与美国和其它发达国家近期的经验相符。然而,目前统计机构所衡量的国内生产总值(GDP)增长并未计入休闲服务的真实价值,因此夸大了放缓的程度。

Figure 4 The level of GDP with and without the value of leisure services (measured at the ongoing market wage rate)

图4有及没有康乐服务价值的本地生产总值水平(以现行市场工资率计算)

Finally, the theory provides a framework for thinking about policy. The market equilibrium is inefficient, but moreover, it is unclear whether in principle there is too much or too little free leisure services. On the one hand, platforms may undersupply, providing only as much as is needed for advertising and not fully taking into account consumers’ utility benefit – an effect similar to one identified by Spence and Owen (1977). Against that, the adverse impact of free leisure services on growth and productivity highlights the reason why there may be too much of it. More detailed quantification may be able to provide an idea of the relative size of these externalities, ultimately informing the optimal policy response to this immensely important phenomenon.

最后,该理论为思考政策提供了一个框架。市场均衡效率低下,但免费休闲服务在原则上是太多还是太少,目前尚不清楚。一方面,平台可能供应不足,只提供广告所需的数量,而没有充分考虑消费者的效用效益——这与Spence和Owen(1977)发现的效果类似。与此相反,免费休闲服务对增长和生产率的负面影响,突显了免费休闲服务可能过多的原因。更详细的量化可能能够提供这些外部性相对规模的概念,最终告知对这一极为重要的现象的最佳政策反应。

References

参考文献

Aguiar, M, and E Hurst (2007a), “Measuring trends in leisure: The allocation of time over five decades”, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 122(3): 969–1006.

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贝克尔(1965),“时间分配的理论”,《经济期刊》第75期(299):493-517页。

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“过去、现在和未来的劳动力供给:一个平衡增长的视角”,国家经济研究局工作论文22215。

Nakamura, L, J Samuels and R Soloveichik (2017), “Measuring the ‘free’ digital economy within the GDP and productivity accounts”, FRB of Philadelphia Working Paper 17-37.

中村,L, J Samuels和R Soloveichik(2017),“在GDP和生产率核算中衡量‘自由’的数字经济”,费城联邦储备银行工作论文17-37。

Rachel, L (2019), “Leisure-enhancing technological change“, mimeo.

雷切尔,L(2019),“休闲促进技术变革”,mimeo。

Spence, M, and B Owen (1977), “Television programming, monopolistic competition and welfare”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 91(1): 103–126.

王建民(民87),“社会福利与电视产业之竞争”,国立中央大学经济研究所硕士论文。

Varian, H (2017), “Artificial intelligence, economics, and industrial organization”, in The Economics of Artificial Intelligence: An Agenda, National Bureau of Economic Research.

瓦里安(2017),“人工智能、经济与产业组织”,《人工智能经济学:议程》,国家经济研究局。

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