Working hours and economic performance: What lessons can be drawn from the Coe-Rexecode report?


By Eric Heyer and Mathieu Plane

Do people work less in France than in the rest of Europe? Is France the only country to have reduced working hours in the last decade? Is the 35-hour work week really dragging down the French economy? The report published on 11 January by the Coe-Rexecode Institute provides fresh material for answering these questions.

We have produced a note on the main conclusions of the report, which can be summarized as follows:

1.  People work fewer hours in France than in the rest of Europe.

  • TRUE for full-time employees,
  • FALSE for part-time employees,
  • FALSE for non-salaried employees,
  • UNDETERMINED for the total.

2. Working hours have fallen more in France than in Germany over the last 10 years.


3.  “The shorter work week has failed to meet the goal of job creation and work-sharing” in France.


4.  “The shorter work week has undermined per capita purchasing power” in France.