Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Measuring and Explaining International Differences in Hours Worked
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/redsed015/592.htm
Abstract
How do average hours worked vary with income per capita? To answer this question, we
build a new internationally comparable database of hours worked covering countries of all income
levels. We document that average hours worked per adult are substantially higher in lowincome
countries than in high-income countries. This pattern is shaped by differences along
both the extensive margin (employment rates) and intensive margin (hours per employed),
with the former being quantitatively more important than the latter. Employment rates are decreasing
between low- and middle-income countries, while hours per employed are decreasing
between middle- and high-income countries. To help explain these facts, we build a model
with subsistence consumption requirements in preferences and individual heterogeneity in the
cost of supplying labor. An implication of our empirical findings and our model is that welfare
differences across countries are substantially larger than suggested by income differences.

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