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Not Working At Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity

Listed author(s):
  • Burda, Michael C
  • Genadek, Katie R.
  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2003-12, we estimate time spent by workers in non-work while on the job. Non-work time is substantial and varies positively with the local unemployment rate. While the average time spent by workers in non-work conditional on any positive non-work rises with the unemployment rate, the fraction of workers who report time in non-work varies pro-cyclically, declining in recessions. These results are consistent with a model in which heterogeneous workers are paid efficiency wages to refrain from loafing on the job. That model correctly predicts relationships of the incidence and conditional amounts of non-work with wage rates and measures of unemployment benefits in state data linked to the ATUS, and it is consistent with observed occupational differences in non-work.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10712.

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Date of creation: Jul 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10712
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