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Differences in hours worked in the OECD: institutions or fiscal policies?

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  • T. BERGER
  • F. HEYLEN

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Abstract

This paper studies the determinants of the level and the evolution of per capita hours worked in a panel of OECD countries since the 1970s. Following Pesaran (Econometrica, 2006), our empirical strategy allows for the possibility of cross-sectionally correlated error terms due to unobserved common factors which are potentially non-stationary. We find that much of the variation in hours worked across countries and over time can be explained by differences in fiscal policy, i.e. differences in the level and structure of taxes and in the structure of government expenditures. Hours worked rise when labour taxes and non-employment benefits fall and when the shares of productive government expenditures and government wage consumption increase. Differences in (the evolution of) labour and product market institutions have much less of a role to play. Our results show that a careful treatment of the time-series properties of the data is crucial.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 09/601.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:09/601

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Keywords: hours worked; taxes; government expenditures; labour market institutions; panel data;

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  1. T. Dhont & F. Heylen, 2006. "Employment and growth in Europe and the US - The role of fiscal policy composition," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/420, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  2. M. Hashem Pesaran, 2004. "Estimation and Inference in Large Heterogeneous Panels with a Multifactor Error Structure," CESifo Working Paper Series 1331, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Regulation And Deregulation In Goods And Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907, August.
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  5. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2000. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1504, Econometric Society.
  8. Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
  9. Alberto F. Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 1-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2005. "Product Market Reforms and Employment in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 472, OECD Publishing.
  11. Christophe Planas & Werner Roeger & Alessandro Rossi, 2003. "How much has labour taxation contributed to European structural unemployment?," European Economy - Economic Papers 183, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  12. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, . "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," Working Papers 122, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  13. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
  14. Kapetanios, G. & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Yamagata, T., 2011. "Panels with non-stationary multifactor error structures," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 160(2), pages 326-348, February.
  15. Giulia Faggio & Stephen Nickell, 2006. "Patterns of Work Across the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0730, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. T. Berger & G. Everaert, 2007. "Labour Taxes and Unemployment Evidence from a Panel Unobserved Component Model," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 07/478, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  18. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Orsetta Causa, 2008. "Explaining Differences in Hours Worked among OECD Countries: An empirical analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 596, OECD Publishing.
  21. Paul Conway & Donato de Rosa & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Faye Steiner, 2006. "Regulation, Competition and Productivity Convergence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 509, OECD Publishing.
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Cited by:
  1. Heylen Freddy & Van de Kerckhove Renaat, 2013. "Employment by age, education, and economic growth: effects of fiscal policy composition in general equilibrium," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 55, October.
  2. Alessandra Casarico & Alessandro Sommacal, 2014. "Taxation and Parental Time Allocation under Different Assumptions on Altruism," CESifo Working Paper Series 4690, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Alexandre Janiak & Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2011. "Towards a quantitative theory of automatic stabilizers: the role of demographics," Documentos de Trabajo 284, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  4. Heylen, Freddy & Hoebeeck, Annelies & Buyse, Tim, 2013. "Government efficiency, institutions, and the effects of fiscal consolidation on public debt," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 40-59.
  5. Georgiadis, Georgios, 2014. "Towards an explanation of cross-country asymmetries in monetary transmission," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 66-84.
  6. Goerke, Laszlo & Hillesheim, Inga, 2013. "Relative consumption, working time, and trade unions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 170-179.
  7. F. Heylen & A. Hoebeeck & T. Buyse, 2011. "Fiscal consolidation, institutions and institutional reform: a multivariate analysis of public debt dynamics," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 11/763, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  8. R. Schoonackers & F. Heylen, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and TFP in the OECD: A Non-Stationary Panel Approach," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 11/701, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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