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Reducing working time and inequality: what has the French 35-hour work week experience taught us?


  • Fabrice Gilles

    () (EPEE, University of Evry-Val-d'Essonne.)

  • Yannick L'Horty

    () (EPEE, University of Evry-Val-d'Essonne.)


To evaluate the inequality effects of implementing the 35-hour work week, we have used a very general labor demand framework that takes into account various skills and the impact of work duration on wages, hourly productivity and labor organization. Numerical simulations include several components of Aubry devices and consider wide but realistic ranges for the various parameters. The 35-hour work week always increases the employment level but has a negative effect on working hours. Moreover, it reduces employment and wage inequality across the whole labor force and among workers, while probably raising welfare inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrice Gilles & Yannick L'Horty, 2003. "Reducing working time and inequality: what has the French 35-hour work week experience taught us?," Documents de recherche 03-07, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:eve:wpaper:03-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gilbert Cette & Dominique Taddéi, 1995. "Durée d'utilisation des équipements industriels : mesure et éléments de comparaison internationale," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 287(1), pages 27-36.
    2. Pedro Conceicao & James K. Galbraith, 1998. "Constructing Long and Dense Time-Series of Inequality Using the Theil Index," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_259, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. repec:eee:labchp:v:1:y:1986:i:c:p:429-471 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Pierre CAHUC & Pierre GRANIER, 1997. "The consequences of a shorter working time : some lessons from a general equilibrium analysis," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1997012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Gilbert Cette, 1998. "Durée du travail, boucle prix-salaire et taux de chômage d'équilibre," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 64(1), pages 129-146.
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    More about this item


    working time reduction; labor demand; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy


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