IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/26554.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why are Average Hours Worked Lower in Richer Countries?

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander Bick
  • Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln
  • David Lagakos
  • Hitoshi Tsujiyama

Abstract

Why are average hours worked per adult lower in rich countries than in poor countries? Two natural candidates to consider are income effects in preferences, in which leisure becomes more valuable when income rises, and distortionary tax systems, which are more prevalent in richer countries. To assess the importance of these two forces, we build a simple model of labor supply by heterogeneous individuals and calibrate it to match international data on labor income taxation, government transfers relative to GDP, and hours worked per adult. The model predicts that income effects are the main driving force behind the decline of average hours worked with GDP per capita. We reach a similar conclusion in an extended model that matches cross-country patterns of labor supply along the extensive and intensive margins and of the prevalence of subsistence self-employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & David Lagakos & Hitoshi Tsujiyama, 2019. "Why are Average Hours Worked Lower in Richer Countries?," NBER Working Papers 26554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26554
    Note: DEV EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w26554.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bridgman, Benjamin & Duernecker, Georg & Herrendorf, Berthold, 2018. "Structural transformation, marketization, and household production around the world," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 102-126.
    2. Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2009. "Trends in hours: The U.S. from 1900 to 1950," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 237-249, January.
    3. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
    4. Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura & Xu Yi, 2008. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size-Dependent Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 721-744, October.
    5. Ohanian, Lee & Raffo, Andrea & Rogerson, Richard, 2008. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: Evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1353-1362, November.
    6. Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2013. "Nonconvexities, Retirement, and the Elasticity of Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1445-1462, June.
    7. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695, Elsevier.
    8. Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2018. "Taxation and Labour Supply of Married Couples across Countries: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 1543-1576.
    9. Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 235-259, April.
    10. Oriana Bandiera & Robin Burgess & Narayan Das & Selim Gulesci & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman, 2017. "Labor Markets and Poverty in Village Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(2), pages 811-870.
    11. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    12. 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 156-181, January.
    13. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    14. Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 961-1075, December.
    15. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2014. "Why Do Developing Countries Tax So Little?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 99-120, Fall.
    16. Peter H. Egger & Sergey Nigai & Nora M. Strecker, 2019. "The Taxing Deed of Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(2), pages 353-390, February.
    17. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
    18. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
    19. Roland Benabou, 2002. "Tax and Education Policy in a Heterogeneous-Agent Economy: What Levels of Redistribution Maximize Growth and Efficiency?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 481-517, March.
    20. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
    21. Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & David Lagakos, 2018. "How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(1), pages 170-199, January.
    22. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    23. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2014. "Consumption and Labor Supply with Partial Insurance: An Analytical Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2075-2126, July.
    24. Gollin, Douglas, 2008. "Nobody's business but my own: Self-employment and small enterprise in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 219-233, March.
    25. Cara McDaniel, 2011. "Forces Shaping Hours Worked in the OECD, 1960-2004," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 27-52, October.
    26. Constantinides, George M, 1982. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and without Demand Aggregation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 253-267, April.
    27. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2013. "A Century Of Human Capital And Hours," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(3), pages 1849-1866, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26554. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.