Wednesday, November 23, 2005

French Work More Than Americans?

No. But, apparently it was true at one time:

One obvious result of this is that America is richer than Europe. In terms of productivity—that is, how much a worker produces in an hour—there’s little difference between the U.S., France, and Germany. But since more people work in America, and since they work so many more hours, Americans create more wealth. In effect, Americans trade their productivity for more money, while Europeans trade it for more leisure. Folk wisdom suggests that the reason for this difference is cultural, which, depending on your perspective, means either that Europeans are ambitionless café-dwellers or that Americans are Puritan grinds with no taste for the finer things in life. But, while culture undoubtedly matters, not that long ago it was the Europeans who worked harder; in 1970, for instance, the French worked ten per cent more hours than Americans.

I'd be curious to see the full trend lines.

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