Brazil or Russia?
- Who tends to work shorter hours?
- Who takes longer lunch hours?
- Who watches more TV?
- Who is more likely to sleep 8 hours or more each night?
Brazil was the correct answer to every question.
My source of data was a Jana emerging markets survey. Gathering information during 2011 and 2012 from 11,687 respondents, their goal was to demonstrate how different cultures define “The Good Life.”
For me, though, the information illustrated just how much developing economies differ. Far from “one-size-fits-all,” the world economy has cultures that work harder and those that lunch more. In some places, 4 hours are an average night of sleep while elsewhere 8 are more typical. Also, where you vacation and how often you watch TV vary. It all depends on what you call home.
I wonder how much the information in Jana’s infographics (below) correspond to these World Bank growth projections for the developing world. Compared to the higher income nations, you can see that emerging markets could be fueling the world economy during the next several years. But might our specific data provide clues about which nations will lead?
Sources and Resources: I suggest looking at more of the Jana infographics here and here. For a more academic perspective, the World Bank report has the details and was the source of my growth table.
Posted by: adminEcon
Tags: Brazil, businesses, consumers, developing nations, emerging markets, India, Jana, lunch hour, night's sleep, Philippines, Russia, TV watching, vacation trips, work hours
Israel has to decide when to have a weekend. The Israeli Sabbath, Friday sunset through Saturday sunset will be a part of it. The second day? Sunday and Friday are possibilities. Knowing that productivity is a major consideration, Israel’s prime minister asked an economist to chair the “weekend” committee.
Selecting Sunday means a day to shop, go to the beach, and enjoy leisure activities from which the GDP would benefit. Also though, the weekend would last 2 1/2 days because work closes down at noon on Friday to prepare for the Sabbath. To compensate, the plan’s advocates suggest a longer 4-day workweek.
Looking beyond Israel, the West takes Saturday and Sunday off. Jordan used to call Thursday and Friday their weekend but now, like Egypt, they observe Friday and Saturday. For Christians, Sunday is significant, to Jews, it is Saturday, and with Muslims, the day is Friday. From a religious perspective, that means the weekend could be one of 4 2-day pairs.
The Economic Lesson
The 5-day work week dates back to the 1920s when Henry Ford became one of the first U.S. employers to implement it. 5 days became viable only after work hours declined from a 60 to 70 hour average during the 19th century to 50 hours by the 1920s.
To see the history of work hours and the workweek in the U.S., this article by Wake Forest econ professor Robert Whaples is excellent. Citing demand and supply, productivity and economic growth, Whaples concludes his article with the economics of the work week. In 1900, for example, we had to work much longer than now to earn enough for our necessities. In 1918, we had to work close to 1 hour to pay for a dozen eggs; now, we just need a few minutes. (p.114 from The Price of Everything)
An Economic Question: Would you agree that a shorter workweek can fuel economic growth? Explain.