The Economics of 35 hours in France
In an effort to stop the economic bleeding in France, there is renewed talk about the viability of the 35-hour workweek. The Socialists are committed to the 35 hour week, while the smart people in France seem to get it – the 35-hour workweek does not decrease unemployment. This was the big promise when the French government introduced the measure in 2000.
The basic idea was this: A business, such as a shop, needs to have employees for 40 hours during the week. With the 35 hour rule, there is now only 4 days of “coverage” for a business that would typically open 5 days. The idea from the Socialists was that since the business needed 5 days of labor but only had a supply of 4 days, that would increase the demand for labor to fill that 5th day.
However, there are two factors at play here, the first is that a business likely couldn’t afford to hire another full time employee just to cover...
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