Are Those Who Bring Work Home Really Working Longer Hours? Implications for BLS Productivity Measures

BLS Economic Working Paper No. 406

48 Pages Posted: 11 May 2007

See all articles by Lucy Eldridge

Lucy Eldridge

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Division of Productivity Research & Program Development

Date Written: May 7, 2007

Abstract

An ongoing debate surrounding BLS productivity data is that official labor productivity measures may be overstating productivity growth because of an increase in unmeasured hours worked outside the traditional workplace. This paper uses both the ATUS and May CPS Work Schedules and Work at Home Supplements to determine whether the number of hours worked by nonfarm business employees are underestimated and increasing over time due to unmeasured hours worked at home. We find that 8 - 9 percent of nonfarm business employees bring some work home from the workplace. In addition, those who bring work home report working longer hours than those who work exclusively in a workplace, resulting in a 0.8 - 1.1 percent understatement of measured hours worked. However, we find no conclusive evidence that productivity trends were biased over the 1997-2005 period due to work brought home from the workplace.

Keywords: work at home, productivity, time use

JEL Classification: J22, J24

Suggested Citation

Eldridge, Lucy and Pabilonia, Sabrina Wulff, Are Those Who Bring Work Home Really Working Longer Hours? Implications for BLS Productivity Measures (May 7, 2007). BLS Economic Working Paper No. 406. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=985357 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.985357

Lucy Eldridge

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20212
United States

Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia (Contact Author)

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Division of Productivity Research & Program Development ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20212
United States
202-691-5614 (Phone)

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