How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications

73 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016 Last revised: 9 Apr 2022

See all articles by Alexander Bick

Alexander Bick

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln

Goethe University Frankfurt

David Lagakos

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

This paper builds a new internationally comparable database of hours worked to measure how hours vary with income across and within countries. We document that average hours worked per adult are substantially higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. The pattern of decreasing hours with income holds for both men and women, for adults of all ages and education levels, and along both the extensive and intensive margin. Within countries, hours worked per employed are also decreasing in the individual wage for most countries, though in the richest countries, hours worked are flat or increasing in the wage. Our findings imply that aggregate productivity and welfare differences across countries are larger than currently thought.

Suggested Citation

Bick, Alexander and Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola and Lagakos, David, How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21874, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717284

Alexander Bick (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Economics Department ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3806
United States

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Grueneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

David Lagakos

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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