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Are the French Happy with the 35-Hour Workweek?

Author/Editor: Estevão, Marcello M. | Sa, Filipa
Authorized for Distribution: November 1, 2006
Electronic Access: Free Full Text (PDF file size is 349KB)
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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate.

Summary: Legally mandated reductions in the workweek can be either a constraint on individuals' choice or a tool to coordinate individuals' preferences for lower work hours. We confront these two hypotheses by studying the consequences of the workweek reduction in France from 39 to 35 hours, which was first applied to large firms in 2000. Using the timing difference by firm size to set up a quasi-experiment and data from the French labor force survey, we show that the law constrained the choice of a significant number of individuals: dual-job holdings increased, some workers in large firms went to small firms where hours were not constrained, and others were replaced by cheaper, unemployed individuals as relative hourly wages increased in large firms. Employment of persons directly affected by the law declined, although the net effect on aggregate employment was not significant.
 
Series: Working Paper No. 06/251
Subject(s): Employment policy | France | Labor | Legislation
Author's keyword(s): Workweek | coordination | job-sharing | welfare
 
English  
    Published:   November 1, 2006        
    ISBN/ISSN:   1934-7073   Format:   Paper
    Stock No:   WPIEA2006251   Pages:   24
    Price:   US$18.00
       
     
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