Increases in hours of work per capita over past 30 years have created an intuitively plausible notion that there now is less time for social interaction. The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the effect of hours of work on social interaction. The empirical work is complicated by the argument that unobserved factors could increase both hours of work and social interaction. The empirical work in this paper employs an exogenous decline in hours of work in France due to a new employment law to bypass this endogeneity problem. The data employed are derived from the 1999-2003 Continuous Survey of Household Living Conditions which is a random sample of French households. Gender specific results from a difference-in-difference model show that the employment laws reduced hours of work but there is no evidence that the extra hours went to increased social interactions. Contrary to the intuitive argument, the paper concludes that in the range of approximately 94 extra hours of leisure per year, hours of work have no effect on social interaction.
SAFFER, H. and LAMIRAUD, K. (2012). The Effect of Hours of Work on Social Interaction. Review of Economics of the Household, 10(2), pp. 237-258.