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Changing Attitudes Toward Worksharing: Evidence from Quebec


  • Michael Huberman
  • Paul Lanoie


This paper evaluates five recent experiences of worksharing in Quebec since 1994: Bell Canada, Alcan, Scott Paper, Sico, and the Ministère de l'environnement et de la faune. Based on survey evidence showing that desired work hours tend to approximate actual work hours, previous studies have raised doubts about the likelihood of successful worksharing initiatives. However, in the cases we have studied, participation rates in voluntary worksharing programs were high, especially where workers' sacrifice (lost wages) was not great and where workers had privious experience with reduced and flexible worktime. Worksharing initiatives were less successful when they were mandatory. The programs studied point to the importance of labour-supply responses in policy design. Governments have a role to play in designing policy that makes worksharing more attractive to workers and then changes their attitudes toward it. Our findings are consistent with the recommendations of the federal government's Advisory Group on Working Time.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Huberman & Paul Lanoie, 2000. "Changing Attitudes Toward Worksharing: Evidence from Quebec," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(2), pages 141-155, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:26:y:2000:i:2:p:141-155

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security in America: Lessons from Germany," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number kagsnh1993.
    2. Burdett, Kenneth & Wright, Randall, 1989. "Unemployment Insurance and Short-Time Compensation: The Effects on Layoffs, Hours per Worker, and Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1479-1496, December.
    3. Gray, D., 1993. "Work-Sharing Benefits in Canada a Time Series Analysis," Working Papers 9316e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    4. Michael Huberman & Robert Lacroix, 1996. "Le partage de l'emploi : Solution au chômage ou frein à l'emploi ?," CIRANO Monographs, CIRANO, number 1996mo-02.
    5. Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1996. "Reducing working hours," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q IV, pages 13-22.
    6. Drolet, Marie & Morissette, Rene, 1997. "Working More? Working Less? What Do Canadian Workers Prefer?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997104e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Jennifer Hunt, 1998. "Hours Reductions as Work-Sharing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 339-381.
    8. Fortin, Bernard, 1989. "Une réduction de la semaine légale de travail augmente-t-elle la demande de travailleurs?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 65(3), pages 423-442, septembre.
    9. Paul Lanoie & François Raymond, 1999. "Subvention gouvernementale et partage du travail : Une analyse économique - II," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-19, CIRANO.
    10. Ali Béjaoui & Paul Lanoie, 1999. "Subvention gouvernementale et partage du travail : Une analyse économique - I," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-18, CIRANO.
    11. Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Calmfors, Lars, 1985. "Work sharing, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 293-309.
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