Working Hours and Job Sharing in the EU and USA: Are Europeans Lazy? Or Americans Crazy?

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Tito Boeri, Michael C. Burda, Francis Kramarz, Pierre Cahuc
Oxford University Press, 2008 - Business & Economics - 269 pages
In the last 50 years the gap in labour productivity between Europe and the US has narrowed considerably with estimates in 2005 suggesting a EU-US labour productivity gap of about 5 per cent. Yet, average per capita income in the EU is still about 30% lower than in the US. This persistent gap in income per capita can be almost entirely explained by Europeans working less than Americans.

Why do Europeans work so little compared to Americans? What do they do with their spare time outside work? Can they be induced to work more without reducing labour productivity? If so, how? And what is the effect on well-being if policies are created to reward paid work as opposed to other potentially socially valuable activities, like childbearing? More broadly, should the state interfere at all when it comes to bargaining over working hours? This volume explores these questions and many more in an attempt to understand the changing nature of the hours worked in the USA and EU, as well as the effects of policies that impose working hour reductions.

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The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and
Germany the Netherlands the USA and Australia
Explaining the Data

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About the author (2008)

A national of Italy, Tito Boeri is currently Professor of Economics at Bocconi University, Milan and acts as Scientific Director of the Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti. He is research fellow at CEPR, IZA and Igier-Bocconi. After obtaining his Ph.D. in economics from New York University, he was senior economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1987 to 1996. He was also consultant to the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, the ILO, the World Bank, and the Italian Government. Michael C. Burda has been a member of the School of Business and Economics at the Humboldt- Universitat zu Berlin since 1993. In 1987, he received his PhD at Harvard University, after which he was an assistant, and then associate professor of economics at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France. Together with Charles Wyplosz he has authored the textbook Macroeconomics: A European Text (Oxford University Press, 1993). A fourth edition was published in 2005. He is a research fellow at the Centre of Economic Policy Research (CEPR) London, Institut der Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA) Bonn, and Center for Economic Studies (CES) Munich. Francis Kramarz is the Head of the Research Department at CREST-INSEE, the research branch of the French Statistical Institute. He is also an associate professor at Ecole Polytechnique and a research fellow of CEPR (London) and of IZA. He is an associate editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association and Labour Economics. He has been nominated by the French Prime Minister at the recently instituted "Conseil d'Orientation de l'Emploi" as a "qualified (expert) member".

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