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

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  • T. BERGER
  • F. HEYLEN

    ()

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. Orsetta Causa, 2008. "Explaining Differences in Hours Worked among OECD Countries: An empirical analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 596, OECD Publishing.
  2. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Planas, Christophe & Roeger, Werner & Rossi, Alessandro, 2007. "How much has labour taxation contributed to European structural unemployment?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 1359-1375, April.
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  7. Smith, Ron P. & Zoega, Gylfi, 2008. "Global Factors, Unemployment Adjustment and the Natural Rate," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 2(22), pages 1-29.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the U. S. and Europe: Why so Different?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2068, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  10. Paul Conway & Donato de Rosa & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Faye Steiner, 2006. "Regulation, Competition and Productivity Convergence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 509, OECD Publishing.
  11. Berger, Tino & Everaert, Gerdie, 2010. "Labour taxes and unemployment evidence from a panel unobserved component model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 354-364, March.
  12. M. Hashem Pesaran, 2006. "Estimation and Inference in Large Heterogeneous Panels with a Multifactor Error Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 967-1012, 07.
  13. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2001. "Macroeconomic Effects of Regulation and Deregulation in Goods and Labour Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 2713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, 04.
  16. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  17. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 486, OECD Publishing.
  18. Peter C. B. Phillips & Donggyu Sul, 2003. "Dynamic panel estimation and homogeneity testing under cross section dependence *," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 6(1), pages 217-259, 06.
  19. 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.
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  21. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Inga Hillesheim & Laszlo Goerke, 2013. "Relative Consumption, Working Time, and Trade Unions," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201310, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Alessandra Casarico & Alessandro Sommacal, 2014. "Taxation and Parental Time Allocation under Different Assumptions on Altruism," CESifo Working Paper Series 4690, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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.
  7. Georgiadis, Georgios, 2014. "Towards an explanation of cross-country asymmetries in monetary transmission," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 66-84.
  8. 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.

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