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The Timing of Work Time Over Time


  • Daniel S. Hamermesh


The incidence of evening and night work declined sharply in the United States between the early 1970s and the early 1990s, while the fraction of work performed at the fringes of the traditional regular working day grew. The secular decline in evening and night work did not result from industrial shifts or demographic changes. It was greatest at the upper end of the wage distribution, slowest among workers in the lowest quartile of wages. The observed changes in timing are consistent with and magnify the increase in wage inequality in the U.S. that occurred during this period. They are easily explained by a model that views evening/night work as a disamenity, with rising real incomes causing workers to shift away from such work in the presence of only neutral technical change in the profitability of work at different times of day.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1996. "The Timing of Work Time Over Time," NBER Working Papers 5855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5855
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jones, Ronald W., 1975. "Income distribution and effective protection in a multicommodity trade model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, August.
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    3. Anderson, James E & Bannister, Geoffrey J & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "Domestic Distortions and International Trade," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 139-157, February.
    4. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, May.
    5. Anderson, James & Naya, Seiji, 1969. "Substitution and Two Concepts of Effective Rate of Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 607-612, Part I Se.
    6. W. M. Corden, 1966. "The Structure of a Tariff System and the Effective Protective Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 221-221.
    7. Dixit, Avinash, 1985. "Tax policy in open economies," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 313-374 Elsevier.
    8. J. P. Neary (ed.), 1995. "International Trade," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 575.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2005. "Why Not Retire? The Time and Timing Costs of Market Work," Working Papers wp104, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Jacobsen, Joyce P. & Kooreman, Peter, 2005. "Timing constraints and the allocation of time: The effects of changing shopping hours regulations in The Netherlands," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 9-27, January.
    3. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "Changing Inequality in Markets for Workplace Amenities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1085-1123.
    4. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2006. "The Time and Timing Costs of Market Work, and their Implications for Retirement," IZA Discussion Papers 2030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General


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