The Unequal Work Day: A Long-Term View
AbstractI investigate how the distribution of daily hours worked among prime-aged men has changed since the 1890s by occupational and industrial group and by the hourly wage. I find that although hours of work have fallen for all workers, the decline was disproportionately large among the lowest paid workers. In the past hours worked were very unevenly distributed with the lowest paid workers working the longest day whereas today it is the highest paid workers who work the longest day. I argue that much of the change in the relative length of the work day can be accounted for by changes in the number of daily hours workers are willing to supply. I show that the unequal distribution of work hours in the past equalized income and that in recent times the unequal distribution of hours worked magnifies income disparities, suggesting that wage or wealth data may underestimate long-run improvements in the welfare of the lowest paid workers.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 88 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Other versions of this item:
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1991.
"The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid- Century,"
NBER Working Papers
3817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goldin, Claudia & Margo, Robert A, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34, February.
- Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman, 1990.
"How Long Was the Workday in 1880?,"
NBER Historical Working Papers
0015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lundberg, Shelly J, 1985.
"Tied Wage-Hours Offers and the Endogeneity of Wages,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 405-10, August.
- Shelly J. Lundberg, 1984. "Tied Wage-Hours Offers and the Endogeneity of Wages," NBER Working Papers 1431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dora L. Costa, 1997. "Less of a Luxury: The Rise of Recreation since 1888," NBER Working Papers 6054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A. Margo, 1999. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1820 to 1970," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_286, Levy Economics Institute, The.
- Haoming Liu & Yi Wen & Lijing Zhu, 2005.
"Uniform working hours and structural unemployment,"
2005-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Lonnie Golden, 2009. "A Brief History of Long Work Time and the Contemporary Sources of Overwork," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 217-227, January.
- Nancy Folbre, 2009. "Time Use and Living Standards," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 93(1), pages 77-83, August.
- Tisdell, Clement A., 2006. "Effects of Markets on Poverty and Economic Inequality: Evolutionary and Ethical Perspectives," Social Economics, Policy and Development Working Papers 123543, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
- Pope, Clayne, 2009. "Measuring the distribution of material well-being: U.S. trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 66-78, January.
- Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "The Returns to Skill in the United States across the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A. Margo, 2000. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1920 to 1970," Macroeconomics 0004035, EconWPA.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.