The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on this Paper

32 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2005

See all articles by Daniel S. Hamermesh

Daniel S. Hamermesh

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

A large literature examines the addictive properties of such behaviors as smoking, drinking alcohol and eating. We argue that for some people addictive behavior may apply to a much more central aspect of economic life: working. Workaholism is subject to the same concerns about the individual as other addictions, is more likely to be a problem of higher-income individuals, and can, under conditions of jointness in the workplace or the household, generate negative spillovers onto individuals around the workaholic. Using the Retirement History Survey and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find evidence that is consistent with the idea that high-income, highly educated people suffer from workaholism with regard to retiring, in that they are more likely to postpone earlier plans for retirement. The theory and evidence suggest that optimal policy involves a more progressive tax system than in the absence of workaholism.

Keywords: addiction, retirement, labor supply, tax policy

JEL Classification: J26, H21

Suggested Citation

Hamermesh, Daniel S. and Slemrod, Joel B., The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on this Paper (July 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1680. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=769964

Daniel S. Hamermesh (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
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512-475-8526 (Phone)
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

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United States
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734-763-4032 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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