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The Effect of Hours of Work on Social Interaction

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  • Henry Saffer
  • Karine Lamiraud

Abstract

Over time, increases in hours of work per capita have created the intuitively plausible notion that there is less time available to pursue social interactions. The specific question addressed in this paper is the effect of hours of work on social interaction. This is a difficult empirical question since omitted factors could increase both hours of work and social interaction. The approach taken in this paper utilizes an exogenous decline in hours of work in France due to a new employment law. The results clearly show that the employment law reduced hours of work but there is no evidence that the extra hours went to increased social interactions. Although hours of work are not an important determinant of social interaction, human capital is found to be important. The effect of human capital, as measured by education and age, is positive for membership groups but negative for visiting relatives and friends. Also, contrary to expectations, there are no important differences in the determinants of social interaction by gender, marital status or parent status. Finally, a comparison between France and the US show that the response to human capital and other variables are much the same in both nations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13743.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Publication status: published as Henry Saffer & Karine Lamiraud, 2012. "The effect of hours of work on social interaction," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 237-258, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13743

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  1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding the American Decline in Social Capital, 1952--1998," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 17-46, February.
  2. Estevão, Marcello & Sa, Filipa, 2006. "Are the French Happy with the 35-Hour Workweek?," IZA Discussion Papers 2459, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Henry Saffer, 2005. "The Demand for Social Interaction," NBER Working Papers 11881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J. & Freshwater, David, 2006. "The production of social capital in US counties," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 83-101, February.
  5. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  6. Michael, Robert T, 1973. "Education in Nonmarket Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 306-27, Part I, M.
  7. Lionel Prouteau & François-Charles Wolff, 2002. "La participation associative au regard des temps sociaux," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 352(1), pages 57-80.
  8. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2001. "Understanding the Decline in Social Capital, 1952-1998," NBER Working Papers 8295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 10-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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