NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

How do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications

Alexander Bick, Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, David Lagakos

NBER Working Paper No. 21874
Issued in January 2016, Revised in March 2017
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21874

Published: Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & David Lagakos, 2018. "How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, vol 108(1), pages 170-199. citation courtesy of

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