The Economics of the Sabbath

Publikation: Working/Discussion Paper


Uur paper is inspired by the observation that - contrary to the US-experience - in many European countries working time schedules for different groups of workers are strictly regulated for the purpose of protecting "common leisure time" (like holidays sundays, recreation periods during the night and so on...).
As a first step towards a more general analysis, a simple model analyzing the pattern of working time and leisure for two types of workers is developed. The basic assumptions are: productivity in general differs between periods where both are at work simultaneously ("common working time") and periods where only one is at work "private working time"). Moreover, utility of "common" (= overlapping) leisure time differs from utility of "private" leisure. The findings show that from a welfare point of view people work too long and get a shortage of common leisure whenever productivity during common working time is lower than outside common working time for any single individual. If the reverse holds, workers will end up with too short a working day
and a lack of private leisure. The long-run development of the productivity gap is given a tentative historical interpretation.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1991

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