The case for the 28-hour work week

Boosting the overall demand for goods and services is one way to get more people into the workforce. Unfortunately, America has not done a good job of this since 1980, and Europe has probably done an even shoddier job since 2008. The other option is to spread the available work out among more people. One way to do this is by shortening the work week.

A shorter work week would force employers to hire more people to meet the same amount of market demand. It would also force employers to spread hours more evenly between men and women, white workers and workers of color, and between the more and less educated. But there’s a catch: If everyone works fewer hours but hourly wages don’t rise, people could see a big loss of income. So a shorter work week would need to be accompanied by hikes in the minimum wage.

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