Discussion Paper Details

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Title: How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications

Author(s): Alexander Bick, Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln and David Lagakos

Publication Date: February 2016

Keyword(s): hours worked and labor supply

Programme Area(s): Macroeconomics and Growth

Abstract: This paper builds a new internationally comparable database of hours worked to measure how hours vary with income across and within countries. We document that average hours worked per adult are substantially higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. The pattern of decreasing hours with income holds for both men and women, for adults of all ages and education levels, and along both the extensive and intensive margin. Within countries, hours worked per employed are also decreasing in the individual wage for most countries, though in the richest countries, hours worked are flat or increasing in the wage. Our findings imply that aggregate productivity and welfare differences across countries are larger than currently thought.

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Bibliographic Reference

Bick, A, Fuchs-Schündeln, N and Lagakos, D. 2016. 'How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.