The effect on unemployment of selected changes in working time patterns

Keith, Ronald L G (1985). The effect on unemployment of selected changes in working time patterns. MPhil thesis The Open University.



The hypothesis, that unemployment can he greatly reduced at an acceptable economic cost to the nation by decreasing the total hours people spend at work during their lifetimes, is examined. Preferences related to work and leisure were elicited via two surveys from 11O5 people below the qualifying age for State pensions and 147 people receiving the pensions in the Reading area.

It is argued that it is unlikely that unemployment will fall appreciably in future years without introducing some form of job sharing. Using the results of the surveys an analysis is carried out of the social and economic implications of introducing earlier retirement for men, and various methods of reducing the number of working days per year for men and women. Calculations show that voluntary retirement for men from the age of 60 could release about 600,000 jobs for the unemployed at a cost of about 0.2% of the 1984 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is suggested that most of the remaining non-structural unemployment could be eliminated by a special form of job sharing at a cost of about 2% of the 1984 GDP. Further programmes of research are proposed to investigate specific aspects of the recommended policies which have evolved from this more general study.

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