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Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950

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  • Vandenbroucke, Guillaume

Abstract

During the first half of the 20th century the length of the workweek in the U.S. declined, and its distribution across wage deciles narrowed. The hypothesis is twofold. First, technological progress, through the rise in wages and the decreasing cost of recreation, made it possible for the average U.S. worker to afford more time off from work. Second, changes in the wage distribution explain the changes in the distribution of hours. A general equilibrium model is built to explore whether such mechanisms can quantitatively account for the observations. The model is calibrated to the U.S. economy in 1900. It predicts 82% of the observed decline in hours, and most of the contraction in their dispersion. The decline in the price of leisure goods accounts for 7% of the total decline in hours.

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  • Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:33:y:2009:i:1:p:237-249
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    2. Moshe Hazan, 2009. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Supply: Evidence and Implications," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1829-1863, November.
    3. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "A Century Of Human Capital And Hours," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1849-1866, July.
    4. Moshe Hazan, 2006. "Longevity and Lifetime Labor Input: Data and Implications," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_065, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    5. Ricardo Manuel Santos, 2014. "Dynamic Effects of Labor Supply: a mechanism explaining cross-sectional differences in hours," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 630-653, October.
    6. Benjamin M. Friedman, 2015. "Work and Consumption in an Era of Unbalanced Technological Advance," NBER Working Papers 21713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Benjamin Bridgman, 2018. "Is Productivity on Vacation? The Impact of the Digital Economy on the Value of Leisure," BEA Working Papers 0148, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    8. Claudio Michelacci & Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2012. "Intertemporal Labour Supply with Search Frictions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 899-931.
    9. Benjamin Bridgman, 2016. "Engines of Leisure," BEA Working Papers 0137, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    10. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 10-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    11. Galindev, Ragchaasuren, 2008. "The Evolution of Population, Technology and Output," MPRA Paper 17116, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Aug 2009.
    12. Thureson, Disa, 2016. "Household production and the Elasticity of Marginal Utility of Consumption," Working papers in Transport Economics 2016:10, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    13. Cubas, German, 2016. "Distortions, infrastructure, and female labor supply in developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 194-215.
    14. John A. Knowles, 2013. "Why are Married Men Working So Much? An Aggregate Analysis of Intra-Household Bargaining and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1055-1085.
    15. Bar, Michael & Leukhina, Oksana, 2011. "On the time allocation of married couples since 1960," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 491-510.
    16. Yukawa, Shiho, 2012. "教養娯楽価格が出産に与える影響
      [The Effect of Recreational Goods Price on Fertility]
      ," MPRA Paper 35808, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hours worked Leisure Home production Technological progress;

    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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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