Just as most Americans were emerging from the long, lazy, beloved Labor Day weekend, a columnist for the Huffington Post posed these questions: “Why don't we do this more often? If more time off could benefit both individual human beings and the broader economy, why don't we have more long weekends? Why isn't every Monday a Labor Day?”
Seeking answers, the reporter turned to Lonnie Golden, professor of economics at Penn State Abington. Golden is often sought out by the members of the media for his expertise on topics such as labor studies, the economics of labor markets, overwork, and work-life policies and practices.
The story, which appeared on the well-read news site the Huffington Post, recaps 2007 research by Golden and co-author Morris Altman that summarized why Americans don’t easily trade work for free time: to build up savings in case of a job loss, to out-work colleagues for promotions, to decrease their risk of being downsized and to keep their incomes high so they can maintain their spending habits – otherwise known as keeping up with the neighbors. In addition, high unemployment levels drive workers to put in more hours to mollify their fears of being easily replaced.
The Huffington Post reporter asked Golden for his perspective on this unique American passion for overwork:
In an interview, Golden, a professor at Penn State Abington, lamented that the U.S. government so closely tracks underemployment but ignores overemployment.
"National policy ought to make it safe for people to use a wide range of reduced-time options," Golden said, acknowledging that pushing such a policy would be pretty difficult. "It's a different cultural standard. There must be something about Americans who think it's not feasible."
To read the entire article, go to www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/02/labor-day_n_3831989.html.
In recent weeks, Golden also was a panelist on "Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane," which is broadcast on the Philadelphia-area National Public Radio affiliate, WHYY. The daily, two-hour show features local, national and international experts who address topics of concern to the region and beyond.
The "Radio Times" discussion focused on Rhode Island’s passage of the Temporary Caregiver Insurance Bill, which allows workers up to four weeks of paid leave and job protection. Golden and another panelist weighed in on why only three states have passed similar laws since studies that suggest workers in those states are more productive and stay in their jobs longer.
To listen to the discussion, go to whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2013/07/16/family-leave/.
To learn more about Golden, go to www.abington.psu.edu/academics/faculty/dr-lonnie-golden.