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Cyclical Variation in Labor Hours and Productivity Using the ATUS

  • Michael C. Burda
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Jay Stewart

We examine monthly variation in weekly work hours using data for 2003-10 from the Current Population Survey (CPS) on hours/worker, from the Current Employment Survey (CES) on hours/job, and from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) on both. The ATUS data minimize recall difficulties and constrain hours of work to accord with total available time. The ATUS hours/worker are less cyclical than the CPS series, but the hours/job are more cyclical than the CES series. We present alternative estimates of productivity based on ATUS data and find that it is more pro-cyclical than other productivity measures.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18603.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Publication status: published as Michael C. Burda & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jay Stewart, 2013. "Cyclical Variation in Labor Hours and Productivity Using the ATUS," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 99-104, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18603
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Casey B. Mulligan, 2011. "Rising Labor Productivity during the 2008-9 Recession," NBER Working Papers 17584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 2012. "Macroeconomics: A European Text," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 6, number 9780199608645, March.
  3. Frazis, Harley & Stewart, Jay, 2010. "Why Do BLS Hours Series Tell Different Stories About Trends in Hours Worked?," IZA Discussion Papers 4704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fay, Jon A & Medoff, James L, 1985. "Labor and Output over the Business Cycle: Some Direct Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 638-55, September.
  6. Galí, Jordi & van Rens, Thijs, 2014. "The Vanishing Procyclicality of Labor Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 9853, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
  8. Edward Prescott & Ellen McGrattan, 2012. "The Labor Productivity Puzzle," 2012 Meeting Papers 644, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    • Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2012. "The Labor Productivity Puzzle," Book Chapters, in: Lee E. Ohanian & John B. Taylor & Ian J. Wright (ed.), Government Policies and the Delayed Economic Recovery, chapter 6 Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
  9. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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