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

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Joel Slemrod

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 evidence and theory suggest that the negative effects of workaholism can be addressed with a more progressive income tax system than would be appropriate in the absence of this behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11566.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Publication status: published as Contributions in Economic Analysis and Policy, vol 8, no. 1, January 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11566

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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. Christopher Tsoukis & Frédéric Tournemaine, 2013. "Status In A Canonical Macro Model: Labour Supply, Growth And Inequality," Manchester School, University of Manchester, University of Manchester, vol. 81, pages 65-92, October.
  2. Helmut Rainer & Ian Smith, 2012. "Education, Communication and Wellbeing: An Application to Sexual Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 581-598, November.
  3. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2008. "Pawns and queens revisited: public provision of private goods when individuals make mistakes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 599-619, October.
  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. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Jürges, Hendrik, 2012. "Do workers underreport morbidity? The accuracy of self-reports of chronic conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1589-1594.
  6. David Boje & Jo Tyler, 2009. "Story and Narrative Noticing: Workaholism Autoethnographies," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 173-194, January.
  7. Lonnie Golden, 2009. "A Brief History of Long Work Time and the Contemporary Sources of Overwork," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 217-227, January.
  8. Yaniv, Gideon, 2011. "Workaholism and marital estrangement: A rational-choice perspective," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 104-108, March.
  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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