Working Hours and Job Sharing in the EU and USA: Are Europeans Lazy? Or Americans Crazy?

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In the last 50 years the gap in labour productivity between Europe and the US has narrowed considerably with estimates in 2005 suggesting a EU-US labour productivity gap of about 5 per cent. Yet, average per capita income in the EU is still about 30% lower than in the US. This persistent gap in income per capita can be almost entirely explained by Europeans working less than Americans.

Why do Europeans work so little compared to Americans? What do they do with their spare time outside work? Can they be induced to work more without reducing labour productivity? If so, how? And what is the effect on well-being if policies are created to reward paid work as opposed to other potentially socially valuable activities, like childbearing? More broadly, should the state interfere at all when it comes to bargaining over working hours? This volume explores these questions and many more in an attempt to understand the changing nature of the hours worked in the USA and EU, as well as the effects of policies that impose working hour reductions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199231027
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

A national of Italy, Tito Boeri is currently Professor of Economics at Bocconi University, Milan and acts as Scientific Director of the Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti. He is research fellow at CEPR, IZA and Igier-Bocconi. After obtaining his Ph.D. in economics from New York University, he was senior economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1987 to 1996. He was also consultant to the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, the ILO, the World Bank, and the Italian Government. Michael C. Burda has been a member of the School of Business and Economics at the Humboldt- Universit├Ąt zu Berlin since 1993. In 1987, he received his PhD at Harvard University, after which he was an assistant, and then associate professor of economics at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France. Together with Charles Wyplosz he has authored the textbook Macroeconomics: A European Text (Oxford University Press, 1993). A fourth edition was published in 2005. He is a research fellow at the Centre of Economic Policy Research (CEPR) London, Institut der Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) Bonn, and Center for Economic Studies (CES) Munich. Francis Kramarz is the Head of the Research Department at CREST-INSEE, the research branch of the French Statistical Institute. He is also an associate professor at Ecole Polytechnique and a research fellow of CEPR (London) and of IZA. He is an associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association and Labour Economics. He has been nominated by the French Prime Minister at the recently instituted "Conseil d'Orientation de l'Emploi" as a "qualified (expert) member".

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The Distribution of Total Work in the FU and USA Michael C. Burda Burda, Michael C. Daniel S. Hamennesh Hamennesh, Daniel S. Philippe Weil Weil, Philippe

1 Time Use and Work Timing Inside and Outside the Market

2 Explaining the Data

3 Home Production, Set up Costs, and Welfare

Comments Alberto Alesina Alesina, Alberto Christopher Pissarides Pissarides, Christopher

Pt. II Labor Market Effects of Work Sharing Arrangements in Europe Francis Kramarz Kramarz, Francis Pierre Cahuc Cahuc, Pierre Bruno Crepon Crepon, Bruno Oskar Nordstrom Skans Skans, Oskar Nordstrom Thorsten Schank Schank, Thorsten Gijsbert van Lomwel van Lomwel, Gijsbert Andre Zylberberg Zylberberg, Andre

4 Reduction of Working Time and Employment

5 Working Time Developments in Germany

6 The Two French Work-Sharing Experiments: Employment and Productivity Effects

7 Unions, Working Hours, and Absence: Sweden

8 Work-sharing, Part-time Employment, and Childcare

9 Conclusion

Comments Guiseppe Nicoletti Nicoletti, Guiseppe Jan van Ours van Ours, Jan

Final Remarks Olivier Blanchard Blanchard, Olivier Steve Nickell Nickell, Steve Guido Tabellini Tabellini, Guido

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