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The Changing (Dis-)Utility of Work

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  • Greg Kaplan
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We study how changes in the distribution of occupations have affected the aggregate non-pecuniary costs and benefits of working. The physical toll of work is smaller now than in 1950, with workers shifting away from occupations in which people report experiencing tiredness and pain. The emotional consequences of the changing occupation distribution vary substantially across demographic groups. Work has become happier and more meaningful for women, but more stressful and less meaningful for men. These changes appear to be concentrated at lower education levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2018. "The Changing (Dis-)Utility of Work," NBER Working Papers 24738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24738
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Dur & Max van Lent, 2019. "Socially Useless Jobs," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 3-16, January.
    2. FitzRoy, Felix & Nolan, Michael A., 2020. "Towards Economic Democracy and Social Justice: Profit Sharing, Co-Determination, and Employee Ownership," IZA Discussion Papers 13238, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Diane Coyle & Leonard I. Nakamura, 2019. "Toward a Framework for Time Use, Welfare, and Household Centric Economic Measurement," Working Papers 19-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Bart Los & Marcel P. Timmer, 2020. "Measuring Bilateral Exports of Value Added: A Unified Framework," NBER Chapters, in: The Challenges of Globalization in the Measurement of National Accounts, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Marc Henry & Romuald Meango & Ismael Mourifie, 2020. "Revealing gender-specific costs of STEM in an extended Roy model of major choice," Papers 2005.09095, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2020.
    6. Nicolas A. Roys & Christopher R. Taber, 2019. "Skill Prices, Occupations, and Changes in the Wage Structure for Low Skilled Men," NBER Working Papers 26453, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nikolova, Milena & Cnossen, Femke, 2020. "What makes work meaningful and why economists should care about it," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    8. Wolf, Tobias, 2020. "Welfare while working: How does the life satisfaction approach help to explain job search behavior?," Discussion Papers 2020/14, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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