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The effects of working time reductions on wages, actual hours and equilibrium unemployment




This paper extends a general equilibrium model of unemployment and working hours and evaluates the model on a 5 percent working time reduction for shift workers in Sweden. Panel data from firms' payroll records are used to examine the relationship between standard hours, actual hours and hourly wages. The main results are: i) Actual hours only decreased by 40 percent of the reduction in standard hours. ii) Hourly wages for shift workers rose relative to wages for daytime workers. iii) The wage increase was more pronounced for workers who received a larger reduction of actual hours. The conclusion is that working time reductions that allow for discretion on lower levels of bargaining do not necessarily reduce actual hours. Furthermore, working time reductions may result in an increase in wage pressure, causing unemployment to rise.

Suggested Citation

  • Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2001. "The effects of working time reductions on wages, actual hours and equilibrium unemployment," Working Paper Series 2001:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2001_008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
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    7. Calmfors, Lars & Hoel, Michael, 1989. "Work Sharing, Employment and Shiftwork," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 758-773, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexius, Annika & Carlsson, Mikael, 2001. "Measures of Technology and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Sweden and the U.S," Working Paper Series 174, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Work sharing; working hours; unemployment; wage pressure;

    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
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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