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Why do Europeans Work so Little?

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  • Conny Olovsson

Abstract

Market work per person is roughly 10 percent higher in the U.S. than in Sweden. However, if we include the work carried out in home production, the total amount of work differs by only 1%. I set up a model with home production and show that differences in policy - mainly taxes - can account for the discrepancy in labor supply between Sweden and the U.S. Moreover, even though the elasticity of labor supply is rather low, labor taxes are estimated to be associated with considerable output losses. I also show that policy can account for the falling trend in market work in Sweden since 1960. The largest reduction occurs from 1960 until around 1980. After that trends for both taxes and hours worked are basically flat. This is also what the model predicts for hours worked

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 760.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:760

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Keywords: Labor supply; Home Production; Taxes;

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  1. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Structural Transformation and the Labor Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Employment and taxes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19955, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Jonsson, Magnus & Klein, Paul, 2003. "Tax distortions in Sweden and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 711-729, August.
  4. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans Work so Much More than Europeans?," NBER Working Papers 10316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  7. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  8. Lindbeck, Assar, 1982. "Tax Effects versus Budget Effects on Labor Supply," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 473-89, October.
  9. Schneider, Friedrich, 2002. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies of 22 Transition and 21 OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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