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Hours Worked (Long-Run Trends)

For 200 years the average number of hours worked per worker declined, both in the market place and in the home. Technological progress is the engine of such transformation. Three mechanisms are stressed: (i) The rise in real wages and its corresponding wealth effect; (ii) The enhanced value of time off from work, due to the advent of time-using leisure goods; (iii) The reduced need for housework, due to the introduction of time-saving appliances. These mechanisms are incorporated into a model of household production. The notion of Edgeworth-Pareto complementarity/substitutability is key to the analysis. Numerical examples link theory and data.

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Paper provided by Economie d'Avant Garde in its series Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports with number 10.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:10
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  1. Karen Kopecky, 2005. "The Trend in Retirement," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 12, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  2. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1992. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets Since 1830 Background Evidence and Hypotheses," NBER Historical Working Papers 0036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  5. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 3, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  7. Dora L. Costa, 1997. "Less of a Luxury: The Rise of Recreation since 1888," NBER Working Papers 6054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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