Hours worked across the world: facts and driving forces

I summarise new facts on hours worked differences across countries and their driving forces. The facts are derived from a comprehensive analysis of micro data sets. First, hours worked are substantially higher in poor than in rich countries. Second, lower hours worked in Europe than in the US can partly be explained by differences in vacation weeks and partly by differences in the demographic structure. Moreover, employment rates tend to be higher and weekly hours worked lower in Western Europe and Scandinavia than in the US, with the opposite being true in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Identifying Tax Implicit Equivalence Scales

This paper describes a simple and tractable method for identifying equivalence scales that reflect the value judgements implicit in a tax-benefit system. The approach depends on two identifying assumptions and a functional description for transfer payments that can be estimated using common micro-data. We use this approach to evaluate tax implicit equivalence scales for the UK tax-transfer system that applied in April 2009.