The Changing (Dis-)Utility of Work
We study how changes in the distribution of occupations have affected the aggregate non-pecuniary costs and benefits of working. The physical toll of work is smaller now than in 1950, with workers shifting away from occupations in which people report experiencing tiredness and pain. The emotional consequences of the changing occupation distribution vary substantially across demographic groups. Work has become happier and more meaningful for women, but more stressful and less meaningful for men. These changes appear to be concentrated at lower education levels.
We thank Enrico Moretti, Gordon Hanson, and Timothy Taylor for very helpful comments and Sharada Dharmasankar for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Federal Reserve System, or the National Bureau of Economic Research. This paper is preliminary and is in preparation for the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Current primary appointment:
• Professor, Department of Economics and the College, University of Chicago
Current additional appointments
• Advisory Board Member, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
• Research Council, Becker Freidman Institute
• Advisory Board Member, NBER Macroeconomics Annual
• Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
• Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
• International Research Fellow, Institute for Fiscal Studies
Previous additional appointments in last five years
• Visiting Professor, University of New South Wales
• Economic Advisor, Reserve Bank of Australia
• Editor, Review of Economic Dynamics
• Consultant, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Organizations from which I have received cumulative amounts >= USD10,000 in last five years
• University of New South Wales
• Reserve Bank of Australia
• Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
• Center for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI)
• United States Soccer Federation
With reference to the paper “Microeconomic Heterogeneity and Macroeconomic Shocks”:
• I obtained no direct financial support for this research.
• I declare that no other party had the right to review this paper prior to circulation.
Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2018. "The Changing (Dis-)Utility of Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol 32(3), pages 239-258. citation courtesy of