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Working Hours in Canada and the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Heisz, Andrew
  • Larochelle-Cote, Sebastien

Abstract

This paper investigates annual working hours in the United States and Canada over the period 1979 to 2000. The study finds that a working hours gap opened in the 1980s and expanded substantially in the 1990s. It investigates the possibility that labour supply differences, specifically (1) incentives resulting from wage inequality, or (2) differences in the employment engagement of women, youth or older men, explain this working hours gap. The study finds that the stylized facts do not lead one to a supply side explanation. In fact, the sluggish economic growth in Canada relative to the U.S. (reflected in the unemployment rate) during much of the 1990s provides the best explanation for the increase in the hours gap, suggesting that explanations for the divergence in hours worked between the U.S. and Canada should focus on the demand side of the labour market.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2003209e
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    File URL: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/olc-cel/olc.action?ObjId=11F0019M2003209&ObjType=46&lang=en&limit=0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pierre Fortin, 2003. "Differences in Annual Work Hours per Capita between the United States and Canada," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 6, pages 38-46, Spring.
    2. W. Craig Riddell & Andrew Sharpe, 1998. "The Canada-US Unemployment Rate Gap: An Introduction and Overview," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(s1), pages 1-37, February.
    3. Drolet, Marie & Morissette, Rene, 1997. "Working More? Working Less? What Do Canadian Workers Prefer?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1997104e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    4. Osberg, L., 1995. "The Equity/Efficiency Trade-Off in Retrospect," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive 95-04, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    5. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    6. Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Morissette, Rene, 1995. "Why Has Inequality in Weekly Earnings Increased in Canada?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995080e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    8. Murphy, Brian B & Wolfson, Michael, 1998. "New Views on Inequality Trends in Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998124e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    9. Bell, Linda A. & Freeman, Richard B., 2001. "The incentive for working hard: explaining hours worked differences in the US and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 181-202, May.
    10. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis Division, number stcb6e, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Stephanie Aaronson, 2010. "Comment on "Measuring Labor Composition. A Comparison of Alternate Methodologies"," NBER Chapters,in: Labor in the New Economy, pages 485-491 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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