This post originally appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
A trio of liberal economists made the mistake of doing a study on how American workers spent their working hours. Their purpose was to find evidence of racial discrimination which would explain a racial gap in pay. To their dismay, however, the economists found significant racial differences in how much time Americans spent not working while on the job, i.e., how hard one works.
The economists are:
- Daniel Hamermesh, Professor of Economics, University of London.
- Katie Genadek, Research Scientist, University of Minnesota.
- Michael Burda, Professor Economics, Humbodlt University of Berlin.
The economists delayed publishing their findings until after the 2016 presidential election because they didn’t want to give ammunition to what Hamermesh calls “Trump and his minions” to use “as a propaganda piece.”
As reported by The Economist on Feb. 4, 2017, this was the study’s methodology:
- The economists collected data from nearly 36,000 “daily diaries” — American workers’ self-reporting on how they spent their working hours, from 2003 to 2012.
- Assuming that the self-reports were honest, the economists calculated the amount of time spent not working while on the job, e.g., eating, chatting, relaxing, surfing the net, etc.
The study found statistically significant racial and gender differences in the amount of time spent not working while on the job — even after controlling for geography, type of work, union status, and other variables:
- Racial “minorities,” especially male minorities, spent larger portions of their workdays not actually working, i.e., are lazier:
- Hispanics are the laziest, followed by blacks, then Asians.
- White workers are the least lazy.
- Gender differences;
- Hispanic and black men are lazier than Hispanic and black women.
- Asian women are lazier than Asian men.
- White men and women are about the same, with the females slightly lazier than the men.
Trying to explain the racial gap, the study first considered racial discrimination as the cause — that minority workers slack off work because of discriminatory treatment by managers. But that explanation was rejected because the study found that self-employed minority workers also spent more time not working.
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