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European Work Time Regulation, Surplus-Value and Underemployment among Full-Time Employees: A Cross-Sectional Analysis using the 2009 EU LFS


  • Bruce Philp
  • Dan Wheatley


This paper investigates surplus-value rates and work time patterns among fulltime workers in five European Union economies - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - using macroeconomic EUROSTAT data and individual-level data extracted from the 2009 Labour Force Survey. This is considered in terms of the constituent drivers of the rate of surplus-value, in particular working hours. France and the UK are of most interest in terms of work time regulation because of the exceptional nature of their relationship to the European Working Time Directive, 1993 (WTD). The UK is characterised by absolute surplus-value production, whereas we can partially attribute low levels of surplus-value in France to fewer working hours. While this signals some success for workers, evidence indicates the WTD may also have had repercussions for income levels and the family. In the French case reductions in hours may have also depressed real wages (somewhat counteracting the effect of reduced hours in producing low levels of surplus-value), causing underemployment for some, particularly in the 'technicians and associate professionals' and 'all other occupations' categories.

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  • Bruce Philp & Dan Wheatley, 2013. "European Work Time Regulation, Surplus-Value and Underemployment among Full-Time Employees: A Cross-Sectional Analysis using the 2009 EU LFS," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 18(1), pages 57-74, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eis:articl:113philp

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jon C. Messenger, 2011. "Working time trends and developments in Europe 1," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 295-316.
    2. Inmaculada García-Mainar & José Alberto Molina & Víctor M. Montuenga, 2011. "Gender Differences in Childcare: Time Allocation in Five European Countries," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 119-150, January.
    3. Mohun, Simon, 1994. "A Re(in)statement of the Labour Theory of Value," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 391-412, August.
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