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Who Are the Overworked Americans?

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  • Jerry Jacobs
  • Kathleen Green
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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes three trends in working time in the United States over the last thirty years. First, we document an increasing bifurcation of working time, with growth evident among those working both long and short hours. An international comparison also shows that the United States stands out as having among the highest percentage of workers putting in 50 hours per week or more. Second, we argue that there is a mismatch between working time and the preferences of American workers. On average, those working very long hours express a desire to work less, while those working short hours prefer to work more. Third, we maintain that the sense of being overworked stems primarily from demographic shifts in the labor force rather than from changes in average working time per se. Even in the absence of a dramatic rise in time spent on the job, the growth in the proportion of American households consisting of dual-earner couples and single parents has created a growing percentage of workers who face heightened time pressures and increased conflicts between work and their private lives.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

    Volume (Year): 56 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 442-459

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:56:y:1998:i:4:p:442-459

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    Related research

    Keywords: working time; work-family conflict; over work; under work; dualearners; time famine;

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    Cited by:
    1. Ragni Hege Kitterød & Marit Rønsen & Ane Seierstad, 2011. "Working hours in dual-earner couples: Does one partner work less when the other works more?," Discussion Papers 670, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    2. Begoña Alvarez & Daniel Miles, . "Gender Effect on Housework Allocation: Evidence from Spanish Two-Earner Couples," Studies on the Spanish Economy 114, FEDEA.
    3. Otterbach, Steffen, 2009. "Mismatches between actual and preferred work time: empirical evidence of hours constraints in 21 countries," FZID Discussion Papers 07-2009, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    4. Bell, David & Otterbach, Steffen & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2011. "Work hours constraints and health," FZID Discussion Papers 36-2011, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    5. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ragni Hege Kitterød & Marit Rønsen & AneSeierstad, 2011. "Mobilising female labour market reserves: What promotes women’s transitions from part-time to full-time work?," Discussion Papers 658, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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