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Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity

Listed author(s):
  • Michael C. Burda
  • Katie Genadek
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

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.

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File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2015-033.pdf
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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2015-033.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2015
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2015-033
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