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Why Do Europeans Work So Little?

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  • Conny Olovsson

Abstract

Market work per person is roughly 10% higher in the United States than in Sweden. However, if we include the work carried out in home production, the total amount of work only differs by 1%. I set up a model and show that differences in policy-mainly taxes-can account for the discrepancy in both labor supply and home production between Sweden and the United States. These results are independent of the elasticity of labor supply. Copyright © (2009) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Conny Olovsson, 2009. "Why Do Europeans Work So Little?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 39-61, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:50:y:2009:i:1:p:39-61
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jonsson, Magnus & Klein, Paul, 2003. "Tax distortions in Sweden and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 711-729, August.
    2. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "Employment and Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1109, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    4. Lindbeck, Assar, 1982. "Tax Effects versus Budget Effects on Labor Supply," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 473-489, October.
    5. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
    6. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
    7. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
    8. Schneider, Friedrich, 2002. "The Size and Development of the Shadow Economies of 22 Transition and 21 OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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