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The Decline of Drudgery and the Paradox of Hard Work

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Listed:
  • Epstein, Brendan

    () (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))

  • Kimball, Miles S.

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

We develop a theory that focuses on the general equilibrium and long-run macroeconomic consequences of trends in job utility. Given secular increases in job utility, work hours per capita can remain approximately constant over time even if the income effect of higher wages on labor supply exceeds the substitution effect. In addition, secular improvements in job utility can be substantial relative to welfare gains from ordinary technological progress. These two implications are connected by an equation flowing from optimal hours choices: improvements in job utility that have a significant effect on labor supply tend to have large welfare effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Epstein, Brendan & Kimball, Miles S., 2014. "The Decline of Drudgery and the Paradox of Hard Work," International Finance Discussion Papers 1106, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The degradation of middle-class work
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-07-08 18:44:29

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    Cited by:

    1. Brendan Epstein & Ryan Nunn, 2013. "Taxation, match quality and social welfare," International Finance Discussion Papers 1079, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Struck, Clemens C., 2014. "Habit persistence and the long-run labor supply," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 243-247.
    3. Clemens C Struck & Clemens C. Struck, 2017. "On the Interaction of Growth, Trade and International Macroeconomics," Working Papers 201724, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Benjamin Bridgman, 2016. "Engines of Leisure," BEA Working Papers 0137, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    5. Jason Potts, 2017. "Institutions hold consumption on a leash: an evolutionary economic approach to the future of consumption," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 239-250, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor supply; work hours; drudgery; income effect; substitution effect; job utility;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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