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Can a Shorter Workweek Induce Higher Employment? Mandatory Reductions in the Workweek and Employment Subsidies

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  • S. Erbaş

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  • Chera Sayers

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Abstract

This paper presents a unified model of the impact on employment of a mandatory reduction in work hours in combination with an employment subsidy to reduce quasi-fixed costs of employment, while attempting to maintain worker's take-home pay or welfare level. Achieving the dual policy objectives of enhancing employment and maintaining worker income is not necessarily feasible. Nevertheless, a reduction in the legal workweek may induce a degree of downward wage flexibility, while an employment subsidy to firms accommodates downward wage rigidity. It may be possible, therefore, to increase employment with a policy that combines a reduction in the workweek with an employment subsidy. In general, however, the long run employment outcome is ambiguous, and a decline in output cannot be ruled out. More direct policy measures whose impact can be assessed with greater certainty—in particular, removing structural rigidities in the labor market—should be given priority to decrease long term unemployment. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • S. Erbaş & Chera Sayers, 2001. "Can a Shorter Workweek Induce Higher Employment? Mandatory Reductions in the Workweek and Employment Subsidies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 485-509, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:8:y:2001:i:4:p:485-509
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1011291512773
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lonnie Golden & Stuart Glosser, 2013. "Work sharing as a potential policy tool for creating more and better employment: A review of the evidence," Chapters, in: Jon C. Messenger & Naj Ghosheh (ed.),Work Sharing during the Great Recession, chapter 7, pages 203-258, Edward Elgar Publishing.

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