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Why a fixed workweek?

  • Díaz, Antonia
  • Echevarria, Cristina

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 790-798

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:5:p:790-798
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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  1. Barry Eichengreen, 1987. "The impact of late nineteenth-century unions on labor earnings and hours: Iowa in 1894," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 501-515, July.
  2. Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1996. "Work schedules, wages, and employment in a general equilibrium model with team production," Working Paper 9613, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Victoria Osuna Padilla & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2002. "Implementing the 35 Hour Workweek by Means of Overtime Taxation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/04, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  4. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Productivity in Manufacturing and the Length of the Working Day: Evidence from the 1880 Census of Manufactures," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_317, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. 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 156-81, January.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, March.
  8. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2000. "Employment and distributional effects of restricting working time," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1291-1326, June.
  9. Ortega, Javier, 2003. "Working-Time Regulation, Firm Heterogeneity, and Efficiency," CEPR Discussion Papers 3736, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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