Working Hours and Productivity

38 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017

See all articles by Marion Collewet

Marion Collewet

Maastricht University

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University; IZA; Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA)


This paper studies the link between working hours and productivity using daily information on working hours and performance of a sample of call centre agents. We exploit variation in the number of hours worked by the same employee across days and weeks due to central scheduling, enabling us to estimate the effect of working hours on productivity. We find that as the number of hours worked increases, the average handling time for a call increases, meaning that agents become less productive. This result suggests that fatigue can play an important role, even in jobs with mostly part-time workers.

Keywords: working hours, productivity, output, labour demand

JEL Classification: J23, J22, M12, M54

Suggested Citation

Collewet, Marion and Sauermann, Jan, Working Hours and Productivity. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10722. Available at SSRN:

Marion Collewet (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD

Jan Sauermann

SOFI, Stockholm University ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Maastricht University - Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht MD6200

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