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The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper

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Author Info

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

    ()
    (University of Texas at Austin, Royal Holloway)

  • Slemrod, Joel

    ()
    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

A large literature examines the addictive properties of such behaviors as smoking, drinking alcohol and eating. We argue that for some people addictive behavior may apply to a much more central aspect of economic life: working. Workaholism is subject to the same concerns about the individual as other addictions, is more likely to be a problem of higher-income individuals, and can, under conditions of jointness in the workplace or the household, generate negative spillovers onto individuals around the workaholic. Using the Retirement History Survey and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find evidence that is consistent with the idea that high-income, highly educated people suffer from workaholism with regard to retiring, in that they are more likely to postpone earlier plans for retirement. The theory and evidence suggest that optimal policy involves a more progressive tax system than in the absence of workaholism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1680.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy, 2008, 8 (1), Article 3
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1680

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Keywords: tax policy; retirement; labor supply; addiction;

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References

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  1. Becker, Gary S & Grossman, Michael & Murphy, Kevin M, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 396-418, June.
  2. Kahn, Shulamit & Lang, Kevin, 1991. "The Effect of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 605-11, November.
  3. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  4. Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
  5. Kanbur, Ravi & Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2004. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioral Public Economics," Working Papers 127150, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  6. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," General Economics and Teaching 0012003, EconWPA.
  7. Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Papers 216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  8. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  9. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-43, June.
  10. Yuk-fai Fong & Junsen Zhang, 2001. "The Identification of Unobservable Independent and Spousal Leisure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 191-202, February.
  11. Steven J. Haider & Melvin Stephens, 2007. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 247-264, May.
  12. Lee, Jungmin, 2004. "Observable and Unobservable Household Sharing Rules: Evidence from Young Couples' Pocket Money," IZA Discussion Papers 1250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Lee, Jungmin, 2005. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," IZA Discussion Papers 1815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "Timing, togetherness and time windfalls," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 601-623.
  15. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Taxing the Workalcoholics
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-04-24 20:34:00
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Cited by:
  1. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2005. "Pawns and Queens Revisited: Public Provision of Private Goods when Individuals make Mistakes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1466, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Helmut Rainer & Ian Smith, 2012. "Education, Communication and Wellbeing: An Application to Sexual Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 581-598, November.
  3. Yaniv, Gideon, 2011. "Workaholism and marital estrangement: A rational-choice perspective," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 104-108, March.
  4. Tournemaine, Frederic & Tsoukis, Christopher, 2008. "Gain versus pain from status and ambition: Effects on growth and inequality," MPRA Paper 8670, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. 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.
  6. Christopher Tsoukis & Frédéric Tournemaine, 2013. "Status In A Canonical Macro Model: Labour Supply, Growth And Inequality," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81, pages 65-92, October.
  7. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Jürges, Hendrik, 2012. "Do workers underreport morbidity? The accuracy of self-reports of chronic conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1589-1594.
  8. David Boje & Jo Tyler, 2009. "Story and Narrative Noticing: Workaholism Autoethnographies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 173-194, January.
  9. Cinthya Caamal Olvera., 2007. "Oferta Laboral en México: un enfoque de variables instrumentales," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 115-154, May.

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