Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2306810
 


 



Making Do with Less: Working Harder During Recessions


Edward P. Lazear


Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Kathryn L. Shaw


Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Christopher Stanton


University of Utah - Department of Finance

August 1, 2013


Abstract:     
There are two obvious possibilities that can account for the rise in productivity during recent recessions. The first is that the decline in the workforce was not random, and that the average worker was of higher quality during the recession than in the preceding period. The second is that each worker produced more while holding worker quality constant. We call the second effect, “making do with less,” that is, getting more effort from fewer workers. Using data spanning June 2006 to May 2010 on individual worker productivity from a large firm, it is possible to measure the increase in productivity due to effort and sorting. For this firm, the second effect — that workers’ effort increases — dominates the first effect — that the composition of the workforce differs over the business cycle.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 42

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Date posted: August 7, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Lazear, Edward P. and Shaw, Kathryn L. and Stanton, Christopher, Making Do with Less: Working Harder During Recessions (August 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2306810 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2306810

Contact Information

Edward P. Lazear
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-723-9136 (Phone)
650-723-0498 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Kathryn L. Shaw
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
518 Memorial Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Christopher Stanton (Contact Author)
University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )
David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States
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