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Do Labor Markets Provide Enough Short Hour Jobs? An Analysis of Work Hours and Work Incentives

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  • James B. Rebitzer
  • Lowell J. Taylor

Abstract

This paper examines the role that work incentives play in the determination of work hours. Following previous research by Lang (1989), we use a conventional efficiency wage model to analyze how firms respond to worker preferences regarding wage-hours packages. We find that when workers are homogeneous, the role of worker preferences in determining work hours is similar to the simple neoclassical model of labor supply. For instance, if worker preferences shift in favor of shorter hours, firms will respond by offering jobs entailing shorter hours. When workers have heterogeneous preferences, however, employers will want to use a worker's hours preferences as a signal for the responsiveness of the worker to the work incentives used by the firm, and workers in turn may not reveal their hours preferences. Our key finding in this instance is that the labor market equilibrium may be characterized by a sub-optimal number of short-hour jobs. This shortage of short-hour jobs is likely to be found in high wage labor markets.

Suggested Citation

  • James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "Do Labor Markets Provide Enough Short Hour Jobs? An Analysis of Work Hours and Work Incentives," NBER Working Papers 3883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3883
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    Cited by:

    1. Cowling, Marc, 2007. "Still At Work? An empirical test of competing theories of long hours culture," MPRA Paper 1614, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Lonnie Golden & Stuart Glosser, 2013. "Work sharing as a potential policy tool for creating more and better employment: A review of the evidence," Chapters,in: Work Sharing during the Great Recession, chapter 7, pages 203-258 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Joseph Altonji & Jennifer Oldham, 2003. "Vacation laws and annual work hours," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 19-29.
    4. David Campbell & Francis Green, 2002. "The Long Term Pay-Off From Working Longer Hours," Studies in Economics 0205, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    5. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA's Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
    6. Rebitzer, James B. & Taylor, Lowell J., 2011. "Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Joseph G. Altonji & Emiko Usui, 2007. "Work Hours, Wages, and Vacation Leave," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(3), pages 408-428, April.
    8. John Pencavel, 2016. "Whose Preferences Are Revealed In Hours Of Work?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(1), pages 9-24, January.
    9. Ali Fakih, 2014. "Vacation Leave, Work Hours, and Wages: New Evidence from Linked Employer–Employee Data," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 28(4), pages 376-398, December.
    10. Lehmann, Jee-Yeon, 2011. "Job assignment and promotion under statistical discrimination: evidence from the early careers of lawyers," MPRA Paper 33466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Dora Gicheva, 2013. "Working Long Hours and Early Career Outcomes in the High-End Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 785-824.
    12. Fredrik Andersson, 2002. "Technological Change,Labour Contracts and Income Distribution," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 24-35, Spring.
    13. Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2002. "Working time regulation in a search economy with worker moral hazard," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 387-425, June.
    14. M. Keith Chen & Judith A. Chevalier & Peter E. Rossi & Emily Oehlsen, 2017. "The Value of Flexible Work: Evidence from Uber Drivers," NBER Working Papers 23296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Francis Green, 2000. "Why has Work Effort become more intense? Conjectures and Evidence about Effort-Biased Technical Change and other stories," Studies in Economics 0003, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    16. Lonnie Golden, 2009. "A Brief History of Long Work Time and the Contemporary Sources of Overwork," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 217-227, January.
    17. Oh, Seung-Yun & Park, Yongjin & Bowles, Samuel, 2012. "Veblen effects, political representation, and the reduction in working time over the 20th century," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 218-242.

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