The Incentive for Working Hard: Explaining Hours Worked Differences in the U.S. and Germany
AbstractThis paper seeks to explain the greater hours worked by Americans compared to Germans in terms of forward-looking labor supply responses to differences in earnings inequality between the countries. We argue that workers choose current hours of work to gain promotions and advance in the distribution of earnings. Since US earnings are more unequally distributed than German earnings, the same extra work pays off more in the US, generating more hours worked. Supporting this inequality-hours hypothesis, we show that in both countries hours worked is positively related to earnings inequality in cross section occupational contrasts and that hours worked raises future wages and promotion prospects in longitudinal data.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8051.
Date of creation: Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Labour Economics, Vol. 8, no. 2 (May 2001): 181-202
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Bell, Linda A. & Freeman, Richard B., 2001. "The incentive for working hard: explaining hours worked differences in the US and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 181-202, May.
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994.
"Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
- George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1993. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," NBER Working Papers 4480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981.
"Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
- Hart, Peter E, 1983. "The Size Mobility of Earnings," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 45(2), pages 181-93, May.
- Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
- Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.