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

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

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Oxford University Press, USA

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199231027
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 05/28/2008
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures     x
List of Tables     xi
List of Contributors     xiv
Understanding Transatlantic Differences in Working Hours   Tito Boeri     1
The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and USA   Michael C. Burda   Daniel S. Hamermesh   Philippe Weil
General Introduction     13
Time Use and Work Timing Inside and Outside the Market     15
Introduction     15
The Economic Motivation     16
Data on Time Use-Generally and in this Study     19
Time Use in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the USA, 1985-2003     24
Weekdays or Weekends, Days or Hours, Nights or Days-Does It Matter?     36
What Have We Learned?     43
Classification of Basic Activities into the Main Aggregates in the Eight Samples     45
Explaining the Data     47
The Iso-Work fact     47
Social Norms for Leisure     51
USA versus Europe: A Model of Coordinated Leisure     54
Home Production, Setup Costs, and Welfare     61
The Link between Market and Secondary Work     61
Household Labor Supply with Home Production     63
Household Labor Supply with Setup Costs of Work     71
Summary     80
More General Formulation of the Gronau Model     82
General Conclusion     85
References     88
Alberto Alesina     92
Christopher Pissarides     96
Labor Market Effects of Work-Sharing Arrangements in Europe   Francis Kramarz   Pierre Cahuc   Bruno Crepon   Oskar Nordstrom Skans   Thorsten Schank   Gijsbert van Lomwel   Andre Zylberberg
Introduction     103
Reduction of Working Time and Employment     113
Introduction     113
Labor Demand and Working Time     115
Working Time, Wages, and Employment     121
Conclusion     134
Appendix     135
Labor Demand Elasticities     135
The Collective Bargaining Model     136
The Monopsony Model with Hours     138
Working Time Developments in Germany     141
Introduction     141
Hours Reductions in Germany     142
The Impact of Reductions in Standard Hours on Employment and Wages in Germany: Empirical Evidence     149
Making Working Time Flexible     153
Increases in Working Time: A New Development?     155
Job Stability through Increases in Standard Hours?     156
Conclusions     160
Appendix     162
The Two French Work-Sharing Experiments: Employment and Productivity Effects     167
Introduction     167
Institutional Context     168
The Effects of the 1982 Change     173
Going to Thirty-Five Hours     175
Conclusions     187
Unions, Working Hours, and Absence: Sweden     189
Unions and Working-Time Reductions in Sweden     190
Subsidies for Absence     193
Labor Market Effects of Alternation Leave Schemes     194
Conclusions     204
Work-Sharing, Part-Time Employment, and Childcare     206
Introduction     206
Work-Sharing in the Netherlands     206
The Impact of Work-Sharing on Employment     208
Work-Sharing and Part-Time Employment     209
Childcare Provision, Public Opinion, and Participation     211
Conclusions     217
General Conclusion     218
References     221
Giuseppe Nicoletti     226
Jan van Ours     235
Final Remarks
Olivier Blanchard     242
Stephen Nickell     247
Guido Tabellini     257
Index     264

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