Different but equal: total work, gender and social norms in the EU and US time use
Overall, the issue of whether Europeans are lazy or Americans are crazy seems of second-order importance relative to understanding the determinants of individual behavior. Amore useful, scientific approach is to assume that underlying tastes are common to both continents, while technologies, institutions, or interpersonal influences like norms or externalities may differ and evolve differently. The fact that Americans work on weekends or more often at odd hours of the day may simply represent a bad equilibrium that no individual agent can improve upon--and would certainly not wish to deviate from, given what all others are doing. Especially if norms and other externalities are important, one should recognize that the invisible hand may lead agents to places like this.
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