NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More-Educated Work Longer

May 26, 1998

  • Workers in the lowest-paid 10th percentile of the population worked an average of 8.05 hours per day in 1991, down from 10.99 hours in the 1890s.
  • Those in the highest-paid 10th percentile worked an average of 8.72 hours per day in 1991 -- down only slightly from 8.95 hours in the 1890s.
  • In the late 1800s, the more money that people were offered per hour, the fewer hours they wanted to work -- but that has since changed.
  • Research shows that today a higher wage leads people to work more, or only a bit less.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Dora Costa reports that between 1973 and 1991, some 26 percent of the inequality between the top tenth and the bottom tenth of earners was due to the difference in the amount of hours worked.


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