Who Works When? Evidence from the U.S. and Germany

Daniel S. Hamermesh

NBER Working Paper No. 5208
Issued in August 1995
NBER Program(s):   LS

This study uses data for the U.S. from the May 1991 CPS and for Germany from the 1990 wave of the Socioeconomic Panel (GSOEP) to analyze when people work during the day and week. The evidence shows: 1) Work in the evenings or at night is quite common in both countries, with around 7 percent of workers on the job even at 3AM; 2) Such work is performed mostly by people who are not shift workers; 3) Work at these times is inferior, in that it is performed disproportionately by people with little human capital; 4) Minority workers in the U.S. and the foreign-born in Germany are especially likely to work at these undesirable times; 5) Evening and night work is least likely in large metropolitan areas; 6) Spouses tend to work at the same time of the day; but 7) Young children break down the joint timing of spouses' work, with the burden of evening and night work falling disproportionately on working mothers. The findings demonstrate the gains to basing the analysis of work and leisure on data describing instantaneous time use.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5208

Published: Konjunkturpolitik, Vol.42, No.1, pp.1-22, (1996).

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