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Cyclical Variation in Labor Hours and Productivity Using the ATUS

  • Michael C. Burda
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Jay Stewart

We examine monthly variation in weekly work hours using data from 2003 to 2010. The data sources include the Current Population Survey (CPS) on hours/worker, the Current Employment Survey (CES) on hours/job, and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) on both. The ATUS data minimize recall difficulties and constrain hours of work to accord with total available time. The ATUS hours/worker are less cyclical than the CPS series, but the hours/job are more cyclical than the CES series. We present alternative estimates of productivity based on ATUS data, and find that it is more pro-cyclical than other productivity measures.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 99-104

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:99-104
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.99
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  1. Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2010. "Why Do BLS Hours Series Tell Different Stories About Trends in Hours Worked?," NBER Chapters, in: Labor in the New Economy, pages 343-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Casey B. Mulligan, 2011. "Rising Labor Productivity during the 2008-9 Recession," NBER Working Papers 17584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
  4. Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2010. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 5099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2012. "The Labor Productivity Puzzle," Book Chapters, in: Lee E. Ohanian & John B. Taylor & Ian J. Wright (ed.), Government Policies and the Delayed Economic Recovery, chapter 6 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  6. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 2012. "Macroeconomics: A European Text," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 6, number 9780199608645, July.
  7. Fay, Jon A & Medoff, James L, 1985. "Labor and Output over the Business Cycle: Some Direct Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 638-55, September.
  8. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
  9. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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