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Operating Hours in the EU: the Role of Strategy, Structure and Context

  • Lei Delsen
  • Jeroen Smits
Chapter
Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)

Long and flexible operating hours, and opening and service hours are key indicators of economic performance. Extending operating times and a more flexible organisation of work are important policy instruments to improve competitiveness of a single enterprise, a sector or an economy (European Commission, 1995; Betancourt and Clague, 1981; Anxo et al., 1995; Delsen et al., 2007). A prolongation of operating times and opening hours may increase average capital productivity and ultimately increase profitability, reduce unit costs, and generate more jobs and/or higher wages. For these reasons, both governments and companies consider operating hours a strategic goal of macroeconomic policy (European Commission, 1995).

At the macro level, operating hours depend on the openness of the economy, its industrial and sectoral structure, and the size of plants in the country. Also the business cycle situation is of importance. Figure 3.1 shows that among the six EU countries covered by the EUCOWE survey there are considerable differences in the weekly operating hours – defined as the weekly business hours, including preparation times and times for maintenance – ranging from 60.4 hours in Germany to 47.3 hours in Spain. These figures concern the direct measurement of operating hours of establishments. The direct measure is calculated from the answers given by the respondents to the question “How many hours did your establishment operate in a typical week in March or April 2003?”.1

Keywords

Shift Work Capacity Utilisation Longe Operating Overtime Work Establishment Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nijmegen School of Management Dept. EconomicsRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenNetherlands
  2. 2.Senior Researcher in the Department of EconomicsRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenNetherlands

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