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Whose Preferences Are Revealed in Hours of Work?

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  • Pencavel, John

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

It has become orthodox in economics research to interpret the association between hourly earnings and working hours as the expression of the preferences of workers. This convention originated in H. Gregg Lewis' explanation for the decline in hours of work since the nineteenth century. His explanation rested on an explicit resolution of the identification problem inherent in any quantity (hours) - price (wage) relation. For over forty years, researchers have neglected this identification problem with the result that the findings in the purported "labor supply" literature are of questionable value.

Suggested Citation

  • Pencavel, John, 2015. "Whose Preferences Are Revealed in Hours of Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 9182, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9182
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    2. Françoise Delmez & Vincent Vandenberghe, 2017. "Working long hours: less productive but less costly? Firm-level evidence from Belgium," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2017022, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Vandenberghe, Vincent, 2019. "Health, Cognition and Work Capacity Beyond the Age of 50," GLO Discussion Paper Series 295, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Jean-François Fagnart & Marc Germain & Bruno Van der Linden, 2020. "Working Time Reduction and Employment in a Finite World," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2020032, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Alexandre Mas & Amanda Pallais, 2020. "Alternative Work Arrangements," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 12(1), pages 631-658, August.
    6. Vincent VANDENBERGHE, 2021. "Health, cognition and work capacity beyond the age of 50: International evidence on the extensive and intensive margins of work," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 160(2), pages 271-310, June.
    7. Beckmannshagen, Mattis & Schröder, Carsten, 2022. "Earnings inequality and working hours mismatch," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    8. Robert G. Valletta & Leila Bengali & Catherine van der List, 2020. "Cyclical and Market Determinants of Involuntary Part-Time Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 67-93.
    9. Lechmann, Daniel S. J., 2017. "Estimating labor supply in self-employment: Pitfalls and resolutions," Discussion Papers 101, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    10. Motghare, Swapnil, 2021. "The long-run elasticity of labor supply: New evidence for New York City taxicab drivers☆," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    11. David N. F. Bell & David G. Blanchflower, 2021. "Underemployment in the United States and Europe," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 74(1), pages 56-94, January.
    12. Mevlut Tatliyer & Nurullah Gur, 2022. "Individualism and Working Hours: Macro-Level Evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 159(2), pages 733-755, January.
    13. Tazhitdinova, Alisa, 2015. "Adjust Me if I Can’t: The Effect of Firm Incentives on Labor Supply Responses to Taxes," MPRA Paper 81611, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2017.
    14. William A. Darity Jr. & Darrick Hamilton & Samuel L. Myers Jr. & Gregory N. Price & Man Xu, 2022. "Racial Differences in Time at Work Not Working," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 75(3), pages 552-572, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor demand; labor supply; wages; working hours; identification;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General

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