Achieving low unemployment in an environment of weak growth is a major policy challenge; a more egalitarian distribution of hours worked could be the key to solving it. Whether work-sharing actually increases employment, however, has been debated controversially. In this article we present stylized facts on the distribution of hours worked and discuss the role of work-sharing for a sustainable economy. Building on recent developments in labor market theory we review the determinants of working long hours and its effect on well-being. Finally, we survey work-sharing reforms in the past. While there seems to be a consensus that work-sharing in the Great Depression in the U.S. and in the Great Recession in Europe was successful in reducing employment losses, perceptions of the work-sharing reforms implemented between the 1980s and early 2000s are more ambivalent. However, even the most critical evaluations of these reforms provide no credible evidence of negative employment effects; instead, the overall success of the policy seems to depend on the economic and institutional setting, as well as the specific details of its implementation.
Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)
- 502042 Umweltökonomie
- 502046 Volkswirtschaftspolitik
- 502047 Volkswirtschaftstheorie
- 105904 Umweltforschung