Column: More in U.S. electing to forego working world

There is a subdiscipline in economics that studies labor supply, specifically whether individuals increase hours worked outside the home when higher wages are offered. That discipline should be of interest to policymakers concerned with the fiscal and social effects of changes in the American workforce.

For years, studies concerned themselves with the extent to which the labor supply curve bends backwards as, for instance, when high-wage doctors and lawyers reduce hours available for appointments. The consensus, at that time, was that low- and medium-wage workers had no choice but to supply the standard 40-hour work week regardless of compensation.


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