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Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity

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  • Michael C. Burda
  • Katie Genadek
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2003-12, we estimate time spent by workers in non-work while on the job. Non-work time is substantial and varies positively with the local unemployment rate. While the average time spent by workers in non-work conditional on any positive non-work rises with the unemployment rate, the fraction of workers who report time in non-work varies pro-cyclically, declining in recessions. These results are consistent with a model in which heterogeneous workers are paid efficiency wages to refrain from loafing on the job. That model correctly predicts relationships of the incidence and conditional amounts of non-work with wage rates and measures of unemployment benefits in state data linked to the ATUS, and it is consistent with observed occupational differences in non-work.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael C. Burda & Katie Genadek & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2015. "Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-033, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2015-033
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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. Not Working At Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity By: Burda, Michael C ; Genadek, Katie R. ; Hamermesh, Daniel S.
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2015-07-29 23:05:51
    2. Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-02-19 01:04:52

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael C. Burda, 2018. "Aggregate labor productivity," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 435-435, April.
    2. John G. Fernald & J. Christina Wang, 2016. "Why Has the Cyclicality of Productivity Changed? What Does It Mean?," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 465-496, October.
    3. Poeschel, Friedrich, 2018. "Why do employers not pay less than advertised? Directed search and the Diamond paradox," MPRA Paper 87920, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Martin, Christopher & Wang, Bingsong, 2020. "Search, shirking and labor market volatility," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    5. Senney, Garrett T. & Dunn, Lucia F., 2019. "The role of work schedules and the macroeconomy on labor effort," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 23-34.
    6. Kluge, Jan & Lappoehn, Sarah & Plank, Kerstin, 2020. "The Determinants of Economic Competitiveness," IHS Working Paper Series 24, Institute for Advanced Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    time use; non-work; loafing; shirking; efficiency wage; labor productivity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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