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Comparisons of Weekly Hours over the Past Century and the Importance of Work-Sharing Policies in the 1930s

Author

Listed:
  • Todd C. Neumann
  • Jason E. Taylor
  • Price Fishback

Abstract

Changes in the work week drove a larger portion of changes in total labor input during the Great Depression of the 1930s than during other decades. Work-sharing policies appear to be responsible. Herbert Hoover created various work-sharing committees--led by key industrialists--which pushed for shorter work weeks. And Franklin Roosevelt's President's Reemployment Agreement called for sharp cuts in weekly work hours. Spreading available work amongst more people was the goal. During these periods between 50 and 90 percent of declines in labor input were accommodated by falling hours. In recent decades employers have instead relied on layoffs to achieve the same end.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd C. Neumann & Jason E. Taylor & Price Fishback, 2013. "Comparisons of Weekly Hours over the Past Century and the Importance of Work-Sharing Policies in the 1930s," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 105-110, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:105-10
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.105
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rose, Jonathan D., 2010. "Hoover's Truce: Wage Rigidity in the Onset of the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(04), pages 843-870, December.
    2. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arvind Ashta, 2017. "Work-sharing from Different Angles: A literature review," Working Papers CEB 17-033, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Zwickl, Klara & Disslbacher, Franziska & Stagl, Sigrid, 2016. "Work-sharing for a sustainable economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 246-253.
    3. Taylor, Jason E. & Neumann, Todd C., 2016. "Recovery Spring, Faltering Fall: March to November 1933," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 54-67.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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    1. Comparisons of Weekly Hours over the Past Century and the Importance of Work-Sharing Policies in the 1930s (AER 2013) in ReplicationWiki

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