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Working Time Regulation, Unequal Lifetimes and Fairness

Listed author(s):
  • Marie-Louise Leroux
  • Grégory Ponthiere

We examine the redistributive impact of working time regulations in an economy with unequal lifetimes. It is shown that uniform working time reductions, when uncompensated (i.e. constant hourly wage), can reduce inequalities in realized lifetime well-being between short-lived and long-lived persons with respect to the laissez-faire, but at the cost of making the short-lived worse off. When compensated (i.e. constant labour earnings), uniform working time reductions make the short-lived better off, but at the cost of raising inequalities. Then, we characterize the ex post egalitarian optimum, where the realized lifetime well-being of the worst off is maximized, and show that this social optimum involves an increasing age profile in terms of worked hours. We examine the decentralization of that social optimum, and we provide a second-best egalitarian argument for age-dependent working time regulation, which can make the short-lived better off and reduce inequalities in realized lifetime well-being.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2016/wp-cesifo-2016-12/cesifo1_wp6271.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 6271.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6271
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  1. Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Has Work-Sharing Worked in Germany?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 117-148.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2005. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 277-291, March.
  3. Bruno Crepon & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Employed 40 Hours or Not Employed 39: Lessons from the 1982 Mandatory Reduction of the Workweek," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1355-1389, December.
  4. Matthieu Chemin & Etienne Wasmer, 2009. "Using Alsace-Moselle Local Laws to Build a Difference-in-Differences Estimation Strategy of the Employment Effects of the 35-Hour Workweek Regulation in France," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 487-524, October.
  5. Fleurbaey, Marc & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2013. "Prevention against equality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 68-84.
  6. Bruno Crépon & Marie Leclair & Sébastien Roux, 2004. "RTT, productivité et emploi : nouvelles estimations sur données d'entreprises," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 376(1), pages 55-89.
  7. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo, 2014. "The Detaxation of Overtime Hours: Lessons from the French Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 361-400.
  8. Pencavel, John & Holmlund, Bertil, 1988. "The Determination of Wages, Employment, and Work Hours in an Economy with Centralised Wage-Setting: Sweden, 1950-83," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1105-1126, December.
  9. Fleurbaey, Marc & Leroux, Marie-Louise & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2014. "Compensating the dead," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 28-41.
  10. Philippe Askenazy, 2013. "Working time regulation in France from 1996 to 2012," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(2), pages 323-347.
  11. Friesen, Jane, 2001. "Overtime pay regulation and weekly hours of work in Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(6), pages 691-720, December.
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