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Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends

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  • Jeremy Greenwood
  • Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Abstract

For 200 years the average number of hours worked per worker declined, both in the market place and at home. Technological progress is the engine of such transformation. Three mechanisms are stressed: (i) The rise in real wages and its corresponding wealth effect; (ii) The enhanced value of time off from work, due to the advent of time-using leisure goods; (iii) The reduced need for housework, due to the introduction of time-saving appliances. These mechanisms are incorporated into a model of household production. The notion of Edgeworth-Pareto complementarity/substitutability is key to the analysis. Numerical examples link theory and data. This note has been prepared for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, edited by Lawrence E. Blume and Steven N. Durlauf (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11629 Note: EFG LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. Williamson Jeffrey G., 1995. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets since 1830: Background Evidence and Hypotheses," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 141-196, April.
    3. Timothy J. Kehoe, 2003. "An Evaluation of the Performance of Applied General Equilibrium Models of the Impact of NAFTA," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000525, David K. Levine.
    4. Dora L. Costa, 1997. "Less of a Luxury: The Rise of Recreation since 1888," NBER Working Papers 6054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
    6. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    7. Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2005. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1225-1273 Elsevier.
    8. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Karen A. Kopecky, 2011. "The Trend In Retirement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 287-316, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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