NBER Publications by Michael Burda

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers and Chapters

December 2012Cyclical Variation in Labor Hours and Productivity Using the ATUS
with Daniel S. Hamermesh, Jay Stewart: w18603
We examine monthly variation in weekly work hours using data for 2003-10 from the Current Population Survey (CPS) on hours/worker, from the Current Employment Survey (CES) on hours/job, and from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) on both. The ATUS data minimize recall difficulties and constrain hours of work to accord with total available time. The ATUS hours/worker are less cyclical than the CPS series, but the hours/job are more cyclical than the CES series. We present alternative estimates of productivity based on ATUS data and find that it is more pro-cyclical than other productivity measures.
June 2011What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?
with Jennifer Hunt: w17187
Germany experienced an even deeper fall in GDP in the Great Recession than the United States, with little employment loss. Employers’ reticence to hire in the preceding expansion, associated in part with a lack of confidence it would last, contributed to an employment shortfall equivalent to 40 percent of the missing employment decline in the recession. Another 20 percent may be explained by wage moderation. A third important element was the widespread adoption of working time accounts, which permit employers to avoid overtime pay if hours per worker average to standard hours over a window of time. We find that this provided disincentives for employers to lay off workers in the downturn. Although the overall cuts in hours per worker were consistent with the severity of the Great Recession...
January 2009Unemployment, Market Work and Household Production
with Daniel S. Hamermesh: w14676
Using time-diary data from four countries we show that the unemployed spend most of the time not working for pay in additional leisure and personal maintenance, not in increased household production. There is no relation between unemployment duration and the split of time between household production and leisure. U.S. data for 2003-2006 show that almost none of the lower amount of market work in areas of long-term high unemployment is offset by additional household production. In contrast, in those areas where unemployment has risen cyclically reduced market work is made up almost entirely by additional time spent in household production.
March 2007Total Work, Gender and Social Norms
with Daniel S. Hamermesh, Philippe Weil: w13000
Using time-diary data from 25 countries, we demonstrate that there is a negative relationship between real GDP per capita and the female-male difference in total work time per day -- the sum of work for pay and work at home. In rich northern countries on four continents, including the United States, there is no difference -- men and women do the same amount of total work. This latter fact has been presented before by several sociologists for a few rich countries; but our survey results show that labor economists, macroeconomists, the general public and sociologists are unaware of it and instead believe that women perform more total work. The facts do not arise from gender differences in the price of time (as measured by market wages), as women's total work is further below men's where th...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only


National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us