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April 2002, Vol. 125, No. 4
Measuring the complexity of hours at work: the weekly work gridJohn P. Robinson, Alain Chenu, and Anthony S. Alvarez
Accurate measures of time spent at work are becoming more crucial in the information societies of the 21st century. Variations in the number of hours that individuals spend working provide important evidence in comparisons of the quality of employment across occupations, countries, and time.
Thus, considerable academic and policy debate has centered on whether American workers, or workers in other countries are working more hours than workers did in the past.1 Similar controversies have arisen about how work hours generate differential time pressures on women, versus men. Precise measures of work hours are also an important factor in determining worker productivity levels and trendsas in a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which indicates that productivity measures constructed from surveys of employees showed similar growth rates to those constructed from employees' records.2
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1 John P. Robinson and Ann Bostrom, "The overestimated workweek? What time diary measures suggest," Monthly Labor Review, 1994 August, pp. 1123; J. Jacobs, Measuring time at work: are self-reports accurate? Monthly Labor Review, 1998 December, pp. 4253; and J. Schor, The Overworked American (New York, Basic Books, 1991).
2 Lucy Eldridge and others, "Hours Data in Productivity Measures," a paper presented at the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee meetings, June 78 2001.
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