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The Flexibility of the Workweek in the United States: Evidence from the FIFA World Cup

  • Lozano, Fernando A.


    (Pomona College)

In this paper I explore the flexibility of the work week in the United States, using the FIFA Soccer World Cup as a natural experiment. My empirical strategy exploits the exogenous variation that arises due to which country hosts the World Cup, as this will determine the time games are broadcast across different time zones in the United States. The hour of the day when games are broadcast differentially affects hours of work across different time zones. Further, the calendar timing of the World Cup allows me to compare labor market outcomes in June/July for a worker in World Cup year t, with the outcomes in June/July for a worker in non-World Cup years t + 1, t + 2 and t + 3. My results highlight the importance of the worker's pay frequency in their work week flexibility, as all differences in hours of work due to the World Cup are concentrated among salary paid workers, while hourly paid workers do not change their market hours during the World Cup. Also, my results show that after controlling for observable demographic characteristics as well as year and month fixed effects, a worker reduces on average his weekly number of hours of work during the World Cup by statistically significant estimates that range from 9 weekly minutes to 28 weekly minutes, depending on specification choice and time of the day during which World Cup games are broadcast live in the U.S.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4217.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 2011, 49(2), 512-529
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4217
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1980. "The Relationship between Wages and Weekly Hours of Work: The Role of Division Bias," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 409-423.
  2. Peter Skogman Thoursie, 2004. "Reporting sick: are sporting events contagious?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 809-823.
  3. Catherine Tucker, 2008. "Identifying Formal and Informal Influence in Technology Adoption with Network Externalities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(12), pages 2024-2038, December.
  4. Mary T. Coleman & John Pencavel, 1993. "Changes in work hours of male employees, 1940û1988," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(2), pages 262-283, January.
  5. Costa, Dora L, 2000. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 156-81, January.
  6. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Caitlin Knowles Myers & Mark L. Pocock, 2008. "Cues for Timing and Coordination: Latitude, Letterman, and Longitude," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 223-246, 04.
  7. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, 04.
  8. Mary T. Coleman & John Pencavel, 1993. "Trends in market work behavior of women since 1940," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 653-676, July.
  9. Alex Edmans & Diego García & Øyvind Norli, 2007. "Sports Sentiment and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1967-1998, 08.
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