NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Employee Response to Compulsory Short-Time Work

Victor R. Fuchs, Joyce P. Jacobsen

NBER Working Paper No. 2089
Issued in December 1986
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper reports the results of a survey of over 1500 employees who faced compulsory reductions of 10 percent in hours of work and earnings during the second half of 1985. The workers were asked how they used the free time and how they viewed the program, and their answers were analyzed in relation to their economic and social characteristics. On average, the workers spent 12 percent of the free time in uncompensated work for the company, 43 percent in other work (mostly housework, childcare, and other nonmarket chores), and 45 percent in leisure-time activities such as resting, reading, and hobbies. Ceteris paribus, education and income were positively related to percentage of time spent in company work, and age was negatively related. Time spent in other work rose with the presence of children, especially for women. Employee reaction to the program was generally favorable; married women were most positive and married men least positive. Workers 45 years of age and over were significantly more positive than those 35-44. There was a strong connection between time use and reaction to the program; workers who spent more of their free time working without pay at the company or in home production were much less positive than those who spent more time in leisure activities.

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Published: Industrial Relations, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 501-513, (Fall 1991).

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