Alex Tabarrok points to new research on the size of the attention economy. The estimates are quite large. Larger than Alex thinks reasonable

The $7.1 trillion estimate for the value of content seems too high. The high value comes from Evans assuming that the marginal wage is higher than the average so the average wage which he uses to calculate the value of time is, if anything, an underestimate while for most people I think the marginal wage is lower than the average (many people don’t even have jobs) so the average is an over-estimate.

Its not just that marginal wage is lower than the average wage, though I agree with Alex that that is likely to be true. Even more importantly, however, most people give up more than their attention when they go to work. There are obvious issues with flexibility, autonomy, stress, etc; but we should not that for many – most? – work is draining emotionally if not physically. Watching TV or surfing the internet are less so.  Thus we shouldn’t expect the shadow price of leisure attention to be anything close to the marginal wage.