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Why a fixed workweek?

Author

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  • Díaz, Antonia
  • Echevarria, Cristina

Abstract

The main goal of this article is to explain why the fixed workweek appeared. To this purpose we differentiate between "jobs" and "hours per job". We consider an economy where hours and number of workers are substitutes in production but in which hiring a worker entails a fixed cost plus a variable cost per hour worked. As a consequence, firms would like workers to work as many hours as possible. In an unregulated economy, workers work more hours that they would like to at the on-going wage rate. This situation characterizes the economy of today's industrialized countries in the 19th century.

Suggested Citation

  • Díaz, Antonia & Echevarria, Cristina, 2009. "Why a fixed workweek?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 790-798, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:5:p:790-798
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1998. "Work Schedules, Wages and Employment in a General Equilibrium Model with Team Production," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 809-834, October.
    3. Victoria Osuna & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Implementing the 35 Hour Workweek by Means of Overtime Taxation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 179-206, January.
    4. Saul J. Blaustein, 1993. "Unemployment Insurance in the United States: The First Half Century," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number uius, November.
    5. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred & Margo, Robert A., 2003. "Productivity in manufacturing and the length of the working day: evidence from the 1880 census of manufactures," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 170-194, April.
    6. Costa, Dora L, 2000. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 156-181, January.
    7. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2000. "Employment and distributional effects of restricting working time," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1291-1326, June.
    8. Ortega, Javier, 2003. "Working-Time Regulation, Firm Heterogeneity, and Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 3736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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