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Shorter Work Time, Hours Flexibility, and Labor Intensification

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  • Philippe Askenazy

    (CNRS
    CEPREMAP)

Abstract

Full-time work hours in continental Europe have recently both declined and become more flexible. However, evidence from France suggests that the reduction of work time has not clearly improved workers' well-being. This paper offers an explanation for this outcome using a simple bargaining model that analyzes the connections among work time, hours flexibility, and labor effort. The model suggests that in return for higher hourly wages, trade unions consent to greater management-controlled hours flexibility. Hours flexibility, in turn, leads to a deterioration in working conditions, including an intensification of labor effort, which becomes acceptable to workers only when work time is reduced. In this model, shorter work time does not reduce the overall effort of workers, and may indeed raise it. Consequently, workers' utility does not necessarily rise with reduced work time even if overall pay is unaltered.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume30/V30N4P603_614.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 30 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 603-614

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:30:y:2004:i:4:p:603-614

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  1. Askenazy, Philippe, 2002. "Dynamique de l'innovation organisationnelle lors de la réduction du temps de travail," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 0210, CEPREMAP.
  2. John M. Evans & Douglas C. Lippoldt & Pascal Marianna, 2001. "Trends in Working Hours in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers, OECD Publishing 45, OECD Publishing.
  3. Askenazy Philippe & Caroli Eve, 2003. "New Organizational Practices and Well-Being at Work: Evidence for France in 1998," Research Unit Working Papers, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA 0311, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
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Cited by:
  1. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00255770 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Caroli, Eve & Bassanini, Andrea, 2014. "Is work bad for health? The role of constraint vs choice," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/12483, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2008. "Reduction of working time and unemployment," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00255770, HAL.
  4. Philippe Askenazy, 2013. "Working time regulation in France from 1996 to 2012," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 323-347.
  5. Golden, Lonnie & Wiens-Tuers, Barbara, 2006. "To your happiness? Extra hours of labor supply and worker well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 382-397, April.

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