Pencavel (1986) concluded that, considering the consistency with which empirical research produces values that violate the model's predictions, "the scientific procedure is surely to regard the theory as it has been formulated and applied to date as having been refuted by the evidence" (p.95). Other criticisms point out that the income-leisure choice model "cannot provide any substantive analytical predictions on the course of labor supply by an individual or a group" (Altman, 2001, 199) and takes no account of the non-pecuniary benefits of working (Farzin and Akao, 2006).
Derobert (2001) questioned the pedigree of the model, noting the paradoxical disappearance of labour, documenting bibliographical anomalies in the model's transmission and finding that the model's formal consecration by Tibor Scitovsky (1952) was accompanied by a warning about its pitfalls – specifically, that regarding leisure as a commodity may lead us to mistakenly assume there is a "conflict between the efficient specialization among workers and the efficient distribution of leisure" (p. 107). "It is much safer," Scitovsky went on to explain,
as well as more natural, to look at the face of the medal and concentrate our attention on work and the burden it involves, rather than on freedom from work and the satisfaction this yields. We can, if we like, think of work as a negative commodity, of its burden as a disutility or negative satisfaction, and of the earnings received for work as a negative price... (p. 107).Scitovsky's 'safer' and 'more natural' approach, however, would require abandoning the opportunity-cost value theory at the foundation of the income-leisure choice model, without which the model itself would cease to have any meaning.
Abstract: Sidney Chapman's theory of the hours of labour, published in 1909 in The Economic Journal, was acknowledged as authoritative by the leading economists of the day. It provided important insights into the prospects for market rationality with respect to work time arrangements and hinted at a profound immanent critique of economists' excessive concern with external wealth. Chapman's theory was consigned to obscurity by mathematical analyses that reverted heedlessly to outdated and naïve assumptions about the connection between hours and output. The Sandwichman is serializing "Missing: the strange disappearance of S. J. Chapman's theory of the hours of labour" on EconoSpeak in celebration of the centenary of publication of Chapman's theory. (To download the entire article in a pdf file, click on the article title.)