April 2022

IZA DP No. 15205: The Value of Leisure Synchronization

Simon Georges-Kot, Dominique Goux, Eric Maurin

This paper explores the extent to which workers are willing to trade hours worked for leisure time shared with their spouse. This parameter is essential to properly assess contemporary trends in the regulation of work and leisure time. We use the fact that the number and timing of paid vacation days to which French employees are entitled vary in a quasi-random way, from year to year, along with the dates of public holidays. Self-employed workers do not benefit from public holidays but we show that a large fraction of them substitute a day of unpaid leisure for a day of paid work whenever their spouse gets an extra day of paid leave.