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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Jim Neuhaus

I suggest to anyone who thinks that this measure had no effect on unemployment to read the INSEE report "Les effets de la RTT sur l'emploi : des simulations ex ante aux évaluations ex-post".
(in French, for some reason ;-)

In addition, the reform was halted and reversed in many companies since 2002, so it would be a little unfair to judge a measure whose was first experimented in 1998 and extended in 2000 on such a short duration.
Despite that, some positive effects on employment could be observed (around 400000 jobs created net).
The (somewhat new) government has also mounted a heavy campaign against RTT with measures that made it less and less attractive to workers, which may explain why some people are unhappy.
Yet, unhappiness is not a good measure of success for an unemployment-targeted measure as it may decrease the happiness of those employed before to increase that of those employed after.

Matt Canavan

Although I am sceptical whether the 35 hour week would create more jobs (especially in the long term), the paper doesn't completely refute the other possible benefit that restricting work might make us all better off because it diminshes opportunities to compete on wasteful status goods. Importantly, people wanting to work more is not a refution of this theory. You may want to work more, but if everyone did it then noone would be better off because noone has really got ahead.

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