Office of Survey Methods Research

Abstract

Lucy P. Eldridge and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia (2007) "Are Those Who Bring Work Home Really Working Longer Hours? Implications for BLS Productivity Measures"

An ongoing debate surrounding BLS productivity data is that official labor productivity measures may be overstating productivity growth because of an increase in unmeasured hours worked outside the traditional workplace. This paper uses both the ATUS and May CPS Work Schedules and Work at Home Supplements to determine whether the number of hours worked by nonfarm business employees are underestimated and increasing over time due to unmeasured hours worked at home. We find that 8 - 9 percent of nonfarm business employees bring some work home from the workplace. In addition, those who bring work home report working longer hours than those who work exclusively in a workplace, resulting in a 0.8 — 1.1 percent understatement of measured hours worked. However, we find no conclusive evidence that productivity trends were biased over the 1997-2005 period due to work brought home from the workplace.

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