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Working Time over the 20th Century

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  • Alexander Ueberfeldt

Abstract

From 1870 to 2000, the workweek length of employed persons decreased by 41 per cent in industrialized countries. The employment rate, employment per working age person, displays large movements but no clear secular pattern. This motivated the question: What accounts for the large decrease in the workweek length and developments in the employment rate over the past 130 years? The answer is given in a dynamic general-equilibrium model with supervisory and production workers. Over time, both types of workers become more productive. In a calibrated version of the model, productivity gains of supervisors account for a large fraction of the decline in the workweek length in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The model, augmented to include taxes, government spending, and technological progress, captures the movement in the employment rates of the three countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 06-18.

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Length: 70 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:06-18

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Keywords: Economic models; Labour markets; Productivity;

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References

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  1. Joines, Douglas H, 1981. "Estimates of Effective Marginal Tax Rates on Factor Incomes," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 191-226, April.
  2. : Michele Boldrin & : Sergi Jiménez-Martín & : Franco Peracchi, . "Micro-Modelling Of Retirement Behavior In Spain," Working Papers 14-02 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
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  6. Victoria Osuna Padilla & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2002. "Implementing the 35 Hour Workweek by Means of Overtime Taxation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/04, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  7. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "Hours and employment variation in business cycle theory," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 17, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Gary S. Murphy Becker & Kevin M., 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 79, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  9. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Non-convexities in quantitative general equilibrium studies of business cycles," Staff Report 312, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub04-1.
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  12. Jennifer Hunt, 1998. "Hours Reductions as Work-Sharing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 339-381.
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Cited by:
  1. Simona E. Cociuba & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Driving forces of the Canadian economy: an accounting exercise," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 06, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  2. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
  3. 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.

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