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The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and US

  • Burda, Michael C.

    ()

    (Humboldt University Berlin)

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S.

    ()

    (University of Texas at Austin, Royal Holloway)

  • Weil, Philippe

    ()

    (ECARES, Free University of Brussels)

Using two time-diary data sets each for Germany, Italy the Netherlands and the U.S. from 1985-2003, we demonstrate that Americans work more than Europeans: 1) in the market; 2) in total (market and home production)-- there is no one-for-one tradeoff across countries in total work; 3) at unusual times of the day and on weekends. In addition, gender differences in total work within a given country are significantly smaller than variation across countries and time. We conclude that some of the transatlantic differences could reflect inferior equilibria that are generated by social norms and externalities. While an important outlet for total work, home production by females appears very sensitive to tax rates in the G-7 countries. We adapt the theory of home production to account for fixed costs of market work and adduce evidence that they, in contrast to other relative costs, vary significantly across countries.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2270.

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Length: 84 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Tito Boeri, Michael Burda, Francis Kramarz (eds.), Working Hours and Job Sharing in the EU and USA: Are Americans Crazy? Are Europeans Lazy? Oxford Univ. Press, 2008
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2270
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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans Work so Much More than Europeans?," NBER Working Papers 10316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
  3. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1991. "Unemployment in the OECD Countries," Economics Series Working Papers 99130, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  5. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  6. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  7. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  8. Weiss, Yoram, 1996. "Synchronization of Work Schedules," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 157-79, February.
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