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The Changing (Dis-)utility of Work

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  • Greg Kaplan
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We study how changes in the distribution of occupations have affected the aggregate non-pecuniary costs and benefits of working. The physical toll of work is less now than in 1950, with workers shifting away from occupations in which people report experiencing tiredness and pain. The emotional consequences of the changing occupation distribution vary substantially across demographic groups. Work has become happier and more meaningful for women, but more stressful and less meaningful for men. These changes appear to be concentrated at lower education levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2018. "The Changing (Dis-)utility of Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 239-258, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:32:y:2018:i:3:p:239-58
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.32.3.239
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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