ECON 2302 Unit 6


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Unit 6: Labor



A.  Read the following selections from the Margin Notes by clicking on each link.




B.  Watch these presentations. When you click on one of the links below, a new screen will pop up. Use the scrollbar on the side of the new screen to navigate. You need Adobe Reader to view PDF files.


C.  (Optional) Read the following chapters from the textbook.

Chapters 11 and 17


D.  The following Optional Links will help you do better in your course but they are not required.


E.  Critical Thinking Essay (20 points)To Do Note

A critical thinking essay isn't difficult to write but it is a very structured piece of writing so it’s important that you read and follow the steps below in order.

  1. Read What is Critical Thinking? before you do any work on your essay. We cannot take the time to fully explore what is meant by critical thinking. You do, however, need to have some general idea what critical thinking means in order to write a good critical thinking essay.

  2. Read What is a Critical Thinking Essay? before you go any farther. A critical thinking essay is very similar to an exploratory essay -- a type of writing with which you may be familiar. It has a specific focus and a specific structure. Don’t try to wing this assignment!

  3. Look at your topic carefully and make sure you understand it. Try rewriting it using your own words but keeping the meaning the same


Overworked AmericanOne of the limiting resources in our economy is time. As a society, we make choices about the allocation of time between work and other pursuits. In her 1991 book, The Overworked American, Juliet Schor documented the "unexpected decline of leisure." Even then -- before the infamous eighty-hour workweeks of the New Economy -- the average American was working one month more per year than had been the case two decades earlier.

And not only are Americans working more now than they use to, they're working more than workers from other countries. In the US, most workers are eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, whereas most European workers become eligible at 35 hours per week. In addition, workers in Europe have guaranteed vacation time -- five weeks in France -- a benefit not available in the US. Almost 1-in-4 Americans do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays. As a result, the typical US worker puts in about 2,000 hours per year compared to 1,700 hours per year in France and Germany. In fact, the US is the only advanced economy that does not require employers to provide paid vacation time and paid holidays.


Topic: Should US laws be changed so that US employers are required to offer US workers

the same overtime and vacation benefits as workers in other advanced economies?


The current state of the US economy will affect your thinking about this question whether you realize it or not. Keep in mind, though, that the economy and the labor market weren't and won't always be bad. As you formulate your opinion on this question, take a long-range view of the economy ... sometimes it will be bad and sometimes it will be good. Don't base your opinion on any particular state of the economy.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question posed by your topic and I'm not as interested in your answer as I am in your rationale. For example, go back to an example I used earlier. You start out in favor of the death penalty because you believe it has a deterrent effect but all of the research shows there is no deterrent effect. If you end your essay still in favor of the death penalty, that's okay. If you end your essay still in favor of the death penalty because it has a deterrent effect, that's not okay since your rationale is not consistent with factual information.

  1. Look at the information and research about your topic in the margin notes and presentations from your course and in the links below. Use the information from these sources to write your essay. However, do NOT use any direct quotes, citations or references from these sources. The essay is too short for direct quotes ... use your own words. As for references, I've given you the sources so I'll know where the information came from. (I've tried to give you a wide range of sources and opinions in the reference list below. Inclusion on the list does not constitute an endorsement of either the sources or the opinions.)

The CEPR's No-Vacation Nation Revisited (See also the links in the report's bibliography.)

Why we should all be working a 3-day week (and why it's good for business too)

Productivity and the Workweek: Shorter Hours

What’s Wrong with a 30-Hour Work Week?

US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics

        American Time Use Survey

        Charts from the American Time Use Survey

        International Labor Comparisons

        Resources for Economist or Economic Analysis

What Can Time-Use Data Tell Us About Hours of Work?

Economic Policy Institute: Living Standards and Labor Markets

What’s Wedged between Productivity, Living Standards?

Forecast: Shorter Working Week Soon Inevitable

Labor Regulation in the 21st Century Economy

Shorter Work Week Network

Enjoy The Extra Day Off! More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try.

Time for a shorter work week? - Brookings Institution

Benefits of a Shorter Work Week | Ohio University

Could a shorter work week boost employee productivity?

Four-day work week is a necessary part of human progress

A 4-day work week results in 'more loyal, more engaged staff’

The double-edged sword of the shorter workweek - BBC

Shorter Work Week as Stimulus

Shorter Work Week: History and Arguments For and Against

Time for Jobs: How Shorter Work Weeks / Work Years Can...

What Unions Do: How Labor Unions Affect Jobs and the Economy

Doodle Work Life Survey

download free Adobe PDF reader

Online Databases: Some of the links above may take you to an article's abstract rather than the complete article. If you want to see the entire article but the site requires registration and/or payment, try your college library's online database. Almost all articles can be accessed through a database ... that's why colleges purchase databases for student use. Call your college librarian and ask for your username and password and for directions.

I do not expect you to use additional sources of information on your topic. If you do, you MUST cite and reference any additional sources using one of the following formats.

APA (American Psychological Association): regularly used by most social scientists

APSA (American Political Science Association): used (in conjunction with APA) by political science publications

MLA (Modern Language Association): not generally used by social scientists but if you are a humanities major you may be more familiar with this format

CMS (Chicago Manual of Style)

Turabian: a variation of the CMS

You can find style sheets and/or links for each of these styles on the Writing page, the link for which is at the top of the main Online Courses page.

  1. You may use any font and line spacing you wish when formatting your essay but the content of your essay must be a minimum of 750 words. You must also adequately cover your topic, though, and you may find it difficult to completely cover your topic in 750 words unless you are extremely concise. If you feel you need more length to cover your topic, you are welcome to write a longer essay. However, you are only required to write an essay the content of which is 750 (not 749) words in length. If the content (that does not include your name, type of assignment, citations, etc ... only the content of the paper itself) is not at least 750 words in length I will return your paper to you unread.

Your critical thinking essay should follow a specific outline. Before you begin the writing phase of your essay, read What Makes A Paper Good? and Critical Thinking Essay Format. The outline given in the second link is the one you need to follow in your essay. Too, take your time proofing your essay for spelling and grammar mistakes. If spelling and grammar are not among your talents, ask a friend who is good with spelling and grammar to proof your essay. “A” papers do not have spelling and grammar mistakes!

Under the Optional Links section at the top of this page, I have posted a link to my grading rubric for the critical thinking essay.


Essay Submission Instructions

By the deadline shown in the Course Schedule on the main page of the syllabus:

  • Send your Critical Thinking Essay in the body of a new email to

  • Put only your name and Essay at the beginning of your email.

  • Use the correct subject line.

  • Late essays will lose one point per day late, including weekends and holidays.



Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   04/01/2020   0130

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