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Working Time over the 20th Century

Author

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  • Alexander Ueberfeldt

Abstract

From 1870 to 2000, the workweek length of employed persons decreased by 41 per cent in industrialized countries. The employment rate, employment per working age person, displays large movements but no clear secular pattern. This motivated the question: What accounts for the large decrease in the workweek length and developments in the employment rate over the past 130 years? The answer is given in a dynamic general-equilibrium model with supervisory and production workers. Over time, both types of workers become more productive. In a calibrated version of the model, productivity gains of supervisors account for a large fraction of the decline in the workweek length in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The model, augmented to include taxes, government spending, and technological progress, captures the movement in the employment rates of the three countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2006. "Working Time over the 20th Century," Staff Working Papers 06-18, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:06-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
    2. Simona E. Cociuba & Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2008. "Driving Forces of the Canadian Economy: An Accounting Exercise," Staff Working Papers 08-14, Bank of Canada.
    3. Lonnie Golden, 2009. "A Brief History of Long Work Time and the Contemporary Sources of Overwork," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 217-227, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic models; Labour markets; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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