IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/4808.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?

Author

Listed:
  • Linda Bell
  • Richard Freeman

Abstract

This paper documents the difference between the annual hours worked by employed Americans and Germans, decomposes the difference into differences due to vacation and holiday time and to hours worked while on the job, and examines alternative explanations for the difference. Employed Americans work roughly 10-15% more hours than Germans. Since American employment-population rates exceed those of Germans, adult Americans average some 20% more work time than adult Germans. At the same time, Americans show greater preference for additional hours worked than do Germans. Both of these differences developed in the past 20 years. Two decades ago, Americans worked less than Germans, and it was the Germans who wanted to work more hours. Standard labor supply analyses do not appear able to explain this difference. We show that differences in hours worked are related to differences in earnings inequality across countries, and hypothesize that the high rewards to success in the U.S., lack of job security, and low social safety net compared to Germany or other European countries may explain the cross-country differences in an extended supply model.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4808
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4808.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Michael Huberman & Wayne Lewchuk, 1999. "Globalization and Worker Welfare in Late Nineteenth Century Europe," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-01, CIRANO.
    2. David Campbell & Francis Green, 2002. "The Long Term Pay-Off From Working Longer Hours," Studies in Economics 0205, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    3. Luigi Bonatti, 2007. "Evolution of preferences and cross-country differences in time devoted to market work," Department of Economics Working Papers 0719, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    4. Kapteyn, Arie & Kalwij, Adriaan & Zaidi, Asghar, 2004. "The myth of worksharing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 293-313, June.
    5. Richard Freeman, 1995. "Doing It Right? The US Labour Market Response to the 1980s/1990s," CEP Discussion Papers dp0231, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Heisz, Andrew & Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien, 2003. "Working Hours in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003209e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    7. Green, Francis & McIntosh, Steven, 2001. "The intensification of work in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 291-308, May.
    8. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Seppo Honkapohja & John Kay & Willi Leibfritz & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Xavier Vives, 2005. "Chapter 3: Longer Working Hours - the Beginning of a new Trend?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 51-68, March.
    9. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Low Wage Services: Interpreting the US - German Difference," NBER Working Papers 7611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Paxson, Christina H & Sicherman, Nachum, 1996. "The Dynamics of Dual Job Holding and Job Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 357-393, July.
    11. Sila, Urban, 2009. "Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Has Work-Sharing Worked in Germany?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 117-148.
    13. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2000. "Employment and distributional effects of restricting working time," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1291-1326, June.
    14. Michael Huberman & Chris Minns, 2005. "Hours of Work in Old and New Worlds: The Long View, 1870-2000," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp95, IIIS.
    15. Michelacci, Claudio & Pijoan-Mas, Josep, 2007. "The Effects of Labor Market Conditions on Working Time: the US-EU Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 6314, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Schettkat, Ronald, 2002. "Differences in US-German time-allocation: Why do Americans work longer hours than Germans?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-212, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    17. Lars Osberg, 2003. "Understanding Growth and Inequality Trends: The Role of Labour Supply in the US and Germany," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(s1), pages 163-184, January.
    18. Jennifer Hunt, 1996. "The Response of Wages and Actual Hours Worked to the Reductions of Standard Hours," NBER Working Papers 5716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Michael Huberman, 2002. "Working Hours of the World Unite? New International Evidence on Worktime, 1870-1900," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-77, CIRANO.
    20. Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2003. "How does income inequality influence international migration?," ERSA conference papers ersa03p472, European Regional Science Association.
    21. Michael Huberman & Paul Lanoie, 2000. "Changing Attitudes Toward Worksharing: Evidence from Quebec," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(2), pages 141-155, June.

    More about this item

    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:4808. 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.