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Why do Europeans Work so Little?

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Author Info

  • Olovsson, Conny

    ()
    (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

Abstract

Market work per person is roughly 10 percent higher in the U.S. than in Sweden. However, if we include the work carried out in home production, the total amount of work only differs by 1 percent. I set up a model with home production, and show that differences in policy - mainly taxes – can account for the discrepancy in labor supply between Sweden and the U.S. Moreover, even though the elasticity of labor supply is rather low for individual households, labor taxes are estimated to be associated with considerable output losses. I also show that policy can account for the falling trend in market work in Sweden since 1960. The largest reduction occurs from 1960 until around 1980, both in the model and the data. After the early 1980s, the trends for both taxes and actual hours worked are basically flat. This is also true for hours worked in the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 727.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 09 Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0727

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Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-162000
Fax: +46-8-161443
Web page: http://www.iies.su.se/
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Keywords: Labor supply; Taxes; Home production;

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References

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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans Work so Much More than Europeans?," NBER Working Papers 10316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Employment and Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1109, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Martin Browning & Lars Peter Hansen & James J. Heckman, 1999. "Micro Data and General Equilibrium Models," Discussion Papers 99-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Lindbeck, Assar, 1982. "Tax Effects versus Budget Effects on Labor Supply," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 473-89, October.
  5. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Structural Transformation and the Labor Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Jonsson, Magnus & Klein, Paul, 2003. "Tax distortions in Sweden and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 711-729, August.
  7. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  8. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  9. 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).
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