Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Work and Leisure in the U. S. and Europe: Why so Different?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Edward Glaeser
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

Americans average 25. 1 working hours per person in working age per week, but the Germans average 18. 6 hours. The average American works 46. 2 weeks per year, while the French average 40 weeks per year. Why do western Europeans work so much less than Americans? Recent work argues that these differences result from higher European tax rates, but the vast empirical labor supply literature suggests that tax rates can explain only a small amount of the differences in hours between the U. S. and Europe. Another popular view is that these differences are explained by long-standing European “culture,” but Europeans worked more than Americans as late as the 1960s. In this paper, we argue that European labor market regulations, advocated by unions in declining European industries who argued “work less, work all” explain the bulk of the difference between the U. S. and Europe. These policies do not seem to have increased employment, but they may have had a more society-wide influence on leisure patterns because of a social multiplier where the returns to leisure increase as more people are taking longer vacations.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2005/HIER2068.pdf
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found (http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2005/HIER2068.pdf [301 Moved Permanently]--> http://economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2005/HIER2068.pdf). If this is indeed the case, please notify (Thomas Krichel)
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2068.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2068

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 200 Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-2144
Fax: 617-495-7730
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/journals/hier
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Arthur van Soest & Isolde Woittiez & Arie Kapteyn, 1990. "Labor Supply, Income Taxes, and Hours Restrictions in the Netherlands," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 517-558.
  2. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Olovsson, Conny, 2004. "Why do Europeans Work so Little?," Seminar Papers 727, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Lars Osberg, 2003. "Understanding Growth and Inequality Trends: The Role of Labour Supply in the US and Germany," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(s1), pages 163-184, January.
  5. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2002. "The European Employment Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 3543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. M. Keane & R. Moffitt, . "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1080-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1968, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Marimon, R. & Zilibotti, F., 1999. "Employment and Distributional Effects of Restricting Working Time," Economics Working Papers eco99/19, European University Institute.
  9. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  10. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1983. "The effect of income taxation on the labor supply of married men in Sweden," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 169-197, November.
  11. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Nickell, Stephen, 1998. "Unemployment: Questions and Some Answers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 802-16, May.
  13. Friedrich Schneider & Christopher Bajada, 2003. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies in the Asia-Pacific," Economics working papers 2003-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  14. Robert K. Triest, 1990. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Labor Supply in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 491-516.
  15. Arrufat, Jose Luis & Zabalza, Antonio, 1986. "Female Labor Supply with Taxation, Random Preferences, and Optimization Errors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 47-63, January.
  16. Bertola, Giuseppe & Ichino, Andrea, 1995. "Wage Inequality and Unemployment: US vs Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1186, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Hunt, Jennifer, 1997. "Has Work Sharing Worked in Germany?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1553, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Roberto Perotti & Massimo V. Rostagno & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Electoral System and Public Spending," IMF Working Papers 01/22, International Monetary Fund.
  19. 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.
  20. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  21. Blundell, Richard W & Walker, Ian, 1982. "Modelling the Joint Determination of Household Labour Supplies and Commodity Demands," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 351-64, June.
  22. Schneider, Friedrich, 2002. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies of 22 Transition and 21 OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. N. S. Blomquist & U. Hansson-Brusewitz, 1990. "The Effect of Taxes on Male and Female Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 317-357.
  24. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 921-39, December.
  25. Heckman, James J, 1993. "What Has Been Learned about Labor Supply in the Past Twenty Years?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 116-21, May.
  26. M Arellano & Costas Megir & Mary Silles, 1990. "Female Labour Supply and On-the-Job Search: An Empirical Model Estimated using Complementary Data Sets," CEP Discussion Papers dp0009, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  27. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  28. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  30. repec:fth:stanho:e-90-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Wales, T J & Woodland, A D, 1979. "Labour Supply and Progressive Taxes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 83-95, January.
  32. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1997. "The Welfare State and Competitiveness," Scholarly Articles 4553027, Harvard University Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. El Devenir de la Socialdemocracia en Europa: Reseña de “Socialdemocracy inside-out” de David Rueda
    by Cives in Politikon on 2012-06-06 07:00:42
  2. Simple pictures against bad ideas
    by Tino in Super-Economy on 2010-05-18 01:25:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2068. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).

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.