Work Hours, Wages, and Vacation Leave

Joseph G. Altonji, Emiko Usui

NBER Working Paper No. 11693
Issued in October 2005
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Health and Retirement Study, we provide a set of facts about vacation leave and its relationship to hours worked, hours constraints, wage rates, worker characteristics, spouse's vacation leave, labor market experience, job tenure, occupation, industry, and labor market conditions. We show that on average vacation time taken rises 1 to 1 with paid vacation but varies around it, that annual hours worked fall by about 1 full time week with every week of paid vacation, that the gap between time taken and time paid for is higher for women, union members, and government workers, that hourly wage rates have a strong positive relationship with paid vacation weeks both in the cross section and across jobs, and that nonwage compensation is positively related to vacation weeks. We provide evidence that vacation leave is determined by broad employer policy rather than by negotiation between the worker and firm. In particular, it is strongly related to job seniority but depends very little on labor market experience, and for job changers it is only weakly related to the amount of vacation on the previous job.

download in pdf format
   (427 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11693

Published: Joseph G. Altonji & Emiko Usui, 2007. "Work Hours, Wages, and Vacation Leave," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, ILR School, Cornell University, vol. 60(3), pages 408-437, April. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote w11278 Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?
Ohtake Unions, the Costs of Job Loss, and Vacation
Altonji and Paxson w2121 Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs
Altonji and Paxson w3474 Labor Supply, Hours Constraints and Job Mobility
Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?
NBER Videos

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

Contact Us