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Differences in Work Hours and Hours Preferences by Race in the U.S

Linda Bell

Review of Social Economy, 1998, vol. 56, issue 4, 481-500

Abstract: Significant differences exist in actual and preferred work hours by race. Specifically, black males work 20 percent fewer annual hours than white males. The differences between black and white women are small. Black workers are significantly more likely than white workers to prefer additional work and fewer are satisfied with their current hours of work. I use the hours-inequality hypothesis of Bell and Freeman (1995,1997) to evaluate the extent to which race differences in work hours and hours preferences are related to race differences in incentives. I demonstrate that whereas white workers work longer hours in response to overall wage variation in their relevant labor market cell, black workers react to the wage variation among black workers but not to the variation overall. The fact that labor market incentives are different for otherwise similar black and white workers is difficult to reconcile with standard competitive theory.

Keywords: work hours; labor supply; race differences; wage inequality; hours preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1998
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DOI: 10.1080/00346769800000046

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