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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. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. 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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  5. Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
  6. Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Working Papers 02-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2006. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioural Public Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 849-868, December.
  11. 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).
  12. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jungmin Lee, 2003. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," NBER Working Papers 10186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Steven Haider & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2004. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," NBER Working Papers 10257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," NBER Working Papers 3322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "Timing, togetherness and time windfalls," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 601-623.
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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Tournemaine, Frederic & Tsoukis, Christopher, 2010. "Gain versus pain from status and ambition: Effects on growth and inequality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 286-294, April.
  4. Helmut Rainer & Ian Smith, 2012. "Education, Communication and Wellbeing: An Application to Sexual Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 581-598, November.
  5. David Boje & Jo Tyler, 2009. "Story and Narrative Noticing: Workaholism Autoethnographies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 173-194, January.
  6. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2008. "Pawns and queens revisited: public provision of private goods when individuals make mistakes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 599-619, 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. Yaniv, Gideon, 2011. "Workaholism and marital estrangement: A rational-choice perspective," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 104-108, March.
  9. Tsoukis, Christopher & Tournemaine, Frederic, 2010. "Status in a canonical macro model: labour supply, growth, and inequality," MPRA Paper 26480, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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