Employed 40 Hours or Not Employed 39: Lessons from the 1982 Mandatory Reduction of the Workweek

Posted: 5 Mar 2003  

Bruno Crepon

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - National School for Statistical and Economic Administration (ENSAE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Francis Kramarz

Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Abstract

We investigate the effects of the February 1, 1982, mandatory reduction of weekly working hours in France. Just after Francois Mitterrand's election in 1981, the minimum wage was increased by 5 percent. The workweek was then reduced from 40 to 39 hours. At the same time, stable monthly earnings for minimum-wage earners were mandated. We show that workers employed 40 hours and above in March 1981 were more likely to lose their jobs between 1981 and 1982 than workers employed 36-39 hours in March 1981. Moreover, many workers were still working 40 hours after February. These workers were also strongly affected by this reduction. Our estimates of the impact of this one-hour reduction on employment losses vary between 2 percent and 4 percent. Minimum-wage workers were most affected by the changes.

Suggested Citation

Crepon, Bruno and Kramarz, Francis, Employed 40 Hours or Not Employed 39: Lessons from the 1982 Mandatory Reduction of the Workweek. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 110, December 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=348783

Bruno Crepon

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - National School for Statistical and Economic Administration (ENSAE) ( email )

92245 Malakoff Cedex
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Francis Kramarz (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
92245 Malakoff Cedex
France
+33 1 4117 6033 (Phone)
+33 1 4117 6046 (Fax)

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