A new working paper from the IMF
looks at the impact of the 35-hour working week in France, where it has
been imposed by law on large firms since 2000. The authors, Marcello
Estevao and Filipa Sa, find that the 35-hour week has:
(i) encouraged workers in large firms to take second jobs, or to move to small firms where the 35-hour week is not obligatory;
(ii) driven up hourly wage costs for large firms;
(iii) probably had "no significant impact" on aggregate employment;
(iv) brought no significant increase in worker satisfaction, as measured by the Eurobarometer opinion survey series.
I usually doubt the kind of questionnaire evidence that would go into the kind of judgment represented by iv), but nonetheless this is worth reporting.