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Shorter Work Time, Hours Flexibility, and Labor Intensification

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  • Philippe Askenazy

    (CNRS
    CEPREMAP)

Abstract

Full-time work hours in continental Europe have recently both declined and become more flexible. However, evidence from France suggests that the reduction of work time has not clearly improved workers' well-being. This paper offers an explanation for this outcome using a simple bargaining model that analyzes the connections among work time, hours flexibility, and labor effort. The model suggests that in return for higher hourly wages, trade unions consent to greater management-controlled hours flexibility. Hours flexibility, in turn, leads to a deterioration in working conditions, including an intensification of labor effort, which becomes acceptable to workers only when work time is reduced. In this model, shorter work time does not reduce the overall effort of workers, and may indeed raise it. Consequently, workers' utility does not necessarily rise with reduced work time even if overall pay is unaltered.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Askenazy, 2004. "Shorter Work Time, Hours Flexibility, and Labor Intensification," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 603-614, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:30:y:2004:i:4:p:603-614
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume30/V30N4P603_614.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John M. Evans & Douglas C. Lippoldt & Pascal Marianna, 2001. "Trends in Working Hours in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 45, OECD Publishing.
    2. Askenazy Philippe & Caroli Eve, 2003. "New Organizational Practices and Well-Being at Work: Evidence for France in 1998," Research Unit Working Papers 0311, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Antonioli & Paolo Pini & Roberto Antonietti, 2014. "Flexible pay systems and labour productivity: Evidence from Emilia-Romagna manufacturing firms," Working Papers 2014143, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    2. Bassanini, Andrea & Caroli, Eve, 2014. "Is work bad for health? The role of constraint vs choice," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1402, CEPREMAP.
    3. Philippe Askenazy, 2013. "Working time regulation in France from 1996 to 2012," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 323-347.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12483 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robert Rudolf, 2014. "Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1139-1163, October.
    6. Rowena A Pecchenino & Julie Byrne, 2017. "Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho:The Way We (Would Like to) Work Now," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n282-17.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    7. Golden, Lonnie & Wiens-Tuers, Barbara, 2006. "To your happiness? Extra hours of labor supply and worker well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 382-397, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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