• Researchers analyze the impact of the crisis in the expenditure of Spanish families in leisure time

    December 03, 2014

    The recession has led to a decrease in more than €200 per person in the annual budget devoted to leisure time

    Cultural and sports events lead the ranking of leisure expenditure, followed by the purchase of information technologies

    The deep economic crisis has reconfigured the home finances of Spanish families. Researchers from the Department of Economics of the University of Oviedo have analyzed the impact of the recession in one of the first items that is always subjected to cutbacks: expenditure in leisure and culture. The statistical data reveals that just before the start of the crisis, in 2008, the expenditure per person in leisure and culture amounted to €1,300 per year. Three years later, in 2011, this sum harshly dropped to €1,100, matching similar levels to those of 2004.

    The team led by Professor Levi Pérez has performed a macroeconomic analysis on the effects of the crisis in the expenditure alloted to leisure time and culture, using as their source the annual data on Household Final Consumption Expenditure registered by EuroStat.

    The tendency to spend less money on leisure and culture is spread throughout Europe, but the rates in which the expenditure has changed are harsher in Spain. Until 2007, the expenditure in leisure of Spanish people was growing above 3% in respect to the previous year, while it decreased up to 4% in 2009. During the crisis, Europe and Spain have followed the same tendency, although the changes in our country have always been more noticeable.

    "The next stage of our research aims at explaining the reasons behind the evolution of expenditure", explains Levi Pérez. "The first reason to explain the variations between Spain and Europe is that, without a shade of doubt, the crisis has not affected our country in the same way as other members of the European Union where the household income has remained higher."

    How we spend our money in leisure time

    The first step of the research conducted by the specialists from the University of Oviedo was to determine the concept of leisure in order to distinguish what it includes and what it does not. The researchers took as a reference the statistical classification used for the calculation of price indices and which includes a category named Leisure and Culture.

    Cultural and sports shows lead the ranking of leisure time expenditure, following by the purchase of information technologies

    This category shows data that reveals that the highest expenditure is alloted by Spanish people to cultural, sports and leisure services and gambling. The second concept of the ranking of expenditure is the purchase of technology related to information (PC, tablets, video game consoles, etc.) or audiovisuals (video and photographic cameras, TVs, music players, etc.).

    These are followed by vacation expenses, the purchase of leisure goods and equipment (toys, hobbies, games, sports equipment, pets, gardening, etc.) or the adquisition of books and office supplies. It should be noted that everything related to restaurants and hotels is excluded from this statistic, since it is included in another specific category.

    The project entitled El impacto de las recesiones económicas sobre el gasto en ocio: un análisis macroeconómico has been funded as part of the call for grants for emerging research groups financed by the University of Oviedo and the Town Council of Gijón in 2013. It is an initiative promoted by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Research and Campus of International Excellence.

    Research Team

    • Levi Pérez (Main Researcher)
    • Pelayo Arbués
    • Cristina Muñiz
    • Patricia Suárez