The Productivity of Working Hours

57 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2014

See all articles by John H. Pencavel

John H. Pencavel

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics


Observations on munition workers, most of them women, are organized to examine the relationship between their output and their working hours. The relationship is nonlinear: below an hours threshold, output is proportional to hours; above a threshold, output rises at a decreasing rate as hours increase. Implications of these results for the estimation of labor supply functions are taken up. The findings also link up with current research on the effects of long working hours on accidents and injuries.

Keywords: working hours, output, productivity, women workers

JEL Classification: J24, J22, N34

Suggested Citation

Pencavel, John H., The Productivity of Working Hours. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8129, Available at SSRN: or

John H. Pencavel (Contact Author)

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) ( email )

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650-725-0293 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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