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Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?

  • Edward C. Prescott

Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the early 1970s, when the Western Europeans worked more than Americans. This article examines the role of taxes in accounting for the differences in labor supply across time and across countries; in particular, the effective marginal tax rate on labor income. The population of countries considered is the G-7 countries, which are major advanced industrial countries. The surprising finding is that this marginal tax rate accounts for the predominance of differences at points in time and the large change in relative labor supply over time.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (2004)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 2-13

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:2004:i:jul:p:2-13:n:v.28no.1
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  1. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2000. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycle," Staff Report 280, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Timothy Kehoe & Edward Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century," Technical Appendices kehoe02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  4. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Employment and Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1109, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Conny Olovsson, 2004. "Why do Europeans Work so Little?," 2004 Meeting Papers 760, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  8. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Finn E. Kydland & Carlos E. J. M. Zarazaga, 2002. "Online Appendix to Argentina's Lost Decade and the Subsequent Recovery Puzzle," Technical Appendices kydland02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  12. Finn E. Kydland & Carlos E.J.M. Zarazaga, 2001. "Argentina's lost decade," Center for Latin America Working Papers 0401, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  13. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott (), 2007. "Great depressions of the twentieth century," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, number 2007gdott.
  14. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  15. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "Is the stock market overvalued?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 20-40.
  16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  17. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  18. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Garriga, Carlos, 2003. "Status Quo Problem In Social Security Reforms," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(05), pages 691-710, November.
  19. Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2002. "Accounting for the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 22-27, May.
  20. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  21. repec:cup:macdyn:v:7:y:2003:i:5:p:691-710 is not listed on IDEAS
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