American vs. European labor revisited: the household dimension

…you ask why we Americans work more hours than do Europeans.  But perhaps we don’t.  While the data do show that Americans work more hours AT FORMAL JOBS, it doesn’t follow that Americans work more hours in total.  The reason is that, compared to Europeans, Americans have more time-saving household appliances, as well as greater access to other time-saving amenities such as prepared foods, child care, and housecleaning services.  As a result, we Americans work fewer hours taking care of our households and, hence, can work more hours earning income.

Let’s not forget that buying things is much easier in the U.S. as well.  Don Boudreaux just submitted the above in a letter to The Economist.


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