The Consequences of Long Working Hours

Awarded Scholars:
John Pencavel, Stanford University
Project Date:
Apr 2016
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

The time spent by individuals at work during a year has been rising in the U.S. in recent decades. About ten percent more men and women worked full-time for a full year in 2013 compared with 43 years ago. In 2014, more than one-quarter of all workers worked more than 40 hours a week and almost one-fifth worked 49 hours or more. While there is ongoing research on long working hours, the subject has received little attention from economists.

Labor economist John Pencavel will write a book exploring the consequences of long working hours in the current economy. Using data from the Census of Population and the Current Population Survey, he will provide a detailed description of the distribution of working hours, including what fraction of workers are working long hours and the characteristics of these workers. He will also review the modern literature of sociologists, health researchers, occupational psychologists and others on the effects of long working hours.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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