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Making do with less: working harder during recessions

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  • Lazear, Edward P.
  • Shaw, Kathryn L.
  • Stanton, Christopher

Abstract

Why did productivity rise during recent recessions? One possibility is that average worker quality increased. A second is that each incumbent worker produced more. The second effect is termed “making do with less.” Using data from 2006 to 2010 on individual worker productivity from a large firm, these effects can be measured and separated. For this firm, most of the gain in productivity during the recession was a result of increased effort. Additionally, the increase in effort is correlated with the increase in the local unemployment rate, presumably reflecting the costs of losing a job.

Suggested Citation

  • Lazear, Edward P. & Shaw, Kathryn L. & Stanton, Christopher, 2014. "Making do with less: working harder during recessions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59066, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:59066
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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