Experiments with subjects working for brain stimulation reward provide a psychophysically precise insight into the trade-off between labour and leisure. It has been conventional to look at the resulting behaviour through the same sort of macroscopic lens as in the economics of labour supply theory. We have constructed a more microscopic account of the choices that are made, and show how we can use it to characterize the comparative value of their various activities. We then extend the framework to look at effects of fatigue and satiation, contrasting retrospective effects (which tend to make one consume leisure more avidly after a bout of hard work; e.g., on a Saturday morning) and prospective effects (which direct consumption to before a bout of hard work; e.g., on a Sunday night).
This is joint work with Ritwik Niyogi and Peter Shizgal