DP16140 The 15-Hour Week: Keynes's Prediction Revisited

Author(s): Nicholas Crafts
Publication Date: May 2021
Keyword(s): leisure, Life Expectancy, retirement, Work
JEL(s): J22, J26, N34
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16140

In 1930 Keynes opined that by 2030 people would work only 15 hours per week. As such, this prediction will not be realised. However, expected lifetime hours of leisure and non-market work in the UK rose by 60 per cent between 1931 and 2011, considerably more than Keynes would have expected. This reflects increases in life expectancy at older ages and much longer expected periods of retirement. Leisure in retirement contributes to high life satisfaction for the elderly but building up savings to pay for it is a barrier to working only 15 hours per week.