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The Changing (Dis-)Utility of Work

Greg Kaplan, Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

NBER Working Paper No. 24738
Issued in June 2018
NBER Program(s):Program on the Development of the American Economy, Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program, Health Economics Program, Labor Studies Program, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Program

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24738

Published: 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

 
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