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Who Works When? Evidence from the U.S. and Germany

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

This study uses data for the U.S. from the May 1991 CPS and for Germany from the 1990 wave of the Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP) to analyze when people work during the day and week. The evidence shows: 1) Work in the evenings or at night is quite common in both countries, with around 7 percent of workers on the job even at 3AM; 2) Such work is performed mostly by people who are not shift workers; 3) Work at these times is inferior, in that it is performed disproportionately by people with little human capital; 4) Minority workers in the U.S. and the foreign-born in Germany are especially likely to work at these undesirable times; 5) Evening and night work is least likely in large metropolitan areas; 6) Spouses tend to work at the same time of the day; but 7) Young children break down the joint timing of spouses' work, with the burden of evening and night work falling disproportionately on working mothers. The findings demonstrate the gains to basing the analysis of work and leisure on data describing instantaneous time use.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Who Works When? Evidence from the U.S. and Germany," NBER Working Papers 5208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5208
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mayshar, Joram & Solon, Gary, 1993. "Shift Work and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 224-228, May.
    2. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    3. Kostiuk, Peter F, 1990. "Compensating Differentials for Shift Work," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1054-1075, October.
    4. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
    5. Krishnan, Pramila, 1990. "The Economics of Moonlighting: A Double Self-Selection Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 361-367, May.
    6. Siv Gustafsson & Frank Stafford, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies and Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 204-230.
    7. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 593-624.
    8. Harriet Presser, 1987. "Work shifts of full-time dual-earner couples: Patterns and contrasts by sex of spouse," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(1), pages 99-112, February.
    9. Yoram Barzel, 1973. "The Determination of Daily Hours and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(2), pages 220-238.
    10. Wilson, Paul W., 1988. "Wage variation resulting from staggered work hours," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 9-26, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edward J. Schumacher, "undated". "Relative Wages and the Returns to Education in the Labor Market for Registered Nurses," Working Papers 9601, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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