Diminishing Returns at Work focuses on working hours - in the past and in the present, in America and in Britain. John Pencavel illustrates the proportional relationship between hours of work and outcomes such as production and health. Increases in hours of work are shown to result in smaller increases in production and the benefits in output of long working hours may not offset the consequences of long hours for the health and quality of life of workers.
Shorter hours of work might benefit both firms and workers.
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John Pencavel is the Levin Professor of Economics-Emeritus, Stanford University
"John Pencavel provides a lively and comprehensive analysis of what economists have learned about the nature and extent of diminishing returns to work hours. Although there are undoubtedly diminishing returns in many work activities, as Professor Pencavel expertly demonstrates, readers will not experience diminishing returns from their time spent reading this enlightening book!" - Alan B. Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University
"Diminishing Returns at Work is a valuable contribution to the economics of work hours. Pencavel highlights the theoretical and empirical aspects of First and Second World War productivity data and provides an extensive historical account of how working hours evolved." - Dora Costa, Professor of Economics, UCLA
"With his lucid writing and careful empirical research John Pencavel has established the proposition that is the title of this book: extra hours at work increase output, but at a decreasing rate. The implications of this finding are profound: reduced worker hours are easier to justify than many employers think, and experiments to measure this relation may have an invaluable payoff. This is a book that should stimulate both economists and employers to re-think the way they treat working hours in their models and in the world." - Orley Ashenfelter, Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics, Princeton University
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