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Differences in US-German time-allocation: Why do Americans work longer hours than Germans?

  • Schettkat, Ronald

The conventional view is that Americans work longer hours than Germans and other Europeans but when time in household production is included, overall working time is very similar on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans spend more time on market work but German invest more in household production. This paper examines whether these differences in the allocation of time can be explained by differences in the incentive structure, this is by the tax-wedge and differences in the wage differentials, as economic theory suggests. Its analysis of unique time-use data reveals that the differences in time-allocation patterns can indeed be explained by economic variables.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment with number FS I 02-212.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:fsi02212
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  1. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2002. "Marketization of Production and the US-Europe Employment Gap," NBER Working Papers 8797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pollak, Robert A & Wachter, Michael L, 1975. "The Relevance of the Household Production Function and Its Implications for the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 255-77, April.
  3. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. Stafford, Frank & Duncan, Greg J., 1979. "The Use of Time and Technology by Households in the United States," Working Paper Series 21, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Reuben Gronau, 1976. "Leisure, Home Production and Work--The Theory of The Allocation of Time Revisited," NBER Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Freeman, Richard & Schettkat, Ronald, 2001. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials, and Employment: Germany vs the US," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 582-603, July.
  7. Eisner, Robert, 1988. "Extended Accounts for National Income and Product," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1611-84, December.
  8. Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Locay, Luis, 1990. "Economic Development and the Division of Production between Households and Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 965-82, October.
  10. J. Jacobs, 2008. "Book Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(2), pages 215-217, June.
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