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Working-week flexibility: Implications for employment and productivity

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  • Osuna, Victoria

Abstract

This paper evaluates the implications for employment, productivity and wages of allowing for more flexibility in weekly hours worked introduced in the recent Spanish labour market reform (the 2012 reform). A crucial aspect of the model will be the extent to which firms will be able to choose the workweek when subject to demand shocks. The model is calibrated so that it reproduces the cross-sectional distribution of workweeks across plants and households and some features of the Spanish economy. The author compares the status quo steady-state, where a 40 hour workweek is imposed and no flexibility is allowed, with the steady state of economies with a higher degree of flexibility in weekly hours: the 2012 Reform, the Work sharing and the Full flexibility scenarios. She finds that the 2012 reform preserves employment and generates a 1.72% increase in productivity. In the work sharing scenario, the increase in employment (1.86%) comes at the expense of a lower productivity increase (1.31%) and a decrease in weekly hours worked (4%). Finally, the full flexibility scenario preserves employment and generates a substantial increase in productivity (2.6%) by allowing firms to completely adapt to changing economic conditions, by expanding or contracting the working week. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2013-27.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201327

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Keywords: workweek; wages; employment; productivity;

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  1. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2012. "The Political Economy Of Flexicurity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 684-715, 08.
  2. James Costain & Juan F. Jimeno & Carlos Thomas, 2010. "Employment fluctuations in a dual labor market," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1013, Banco de Espa�a.
  3. Samuel Bentolila & Pierre Cahuc & Juan Jose Dolado & Thomas Le Barbanchon, 2010. "Two-Tier Labor Markets in the Great Recession: France vs. Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 3269, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Victoria Osuna Padilla & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2002. "Implementing the 35 Hour Workweek by Means of Overtime Taxation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/04, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  5. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  6. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  7. J. Ignacio García Pérez & Victoria Osuna, 2012. "Dual Labour Markets and the Tenure Distribution: Reducing Severance Pay or Introducing a Single Contract?," Working Papers 2012-09, FEDEA.
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