In 1998, the French socialist government imposed a maximum 35-hour working week in the hopes that companies would be forced to hire more workers — they did, apparently, hiring 350,000 more in five years.
Later, in 2008, a fresh new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, decided to change the law, hoping to encourage low wage earners to work more and up their salary — and in the process kickstart the economy.
For a while it appeared they did, but new research from economists Pierre Cahuc of the École Polytechnique, and Stéphane Carcillo, an associate professor of economics at the University of Paris I, has revealed that the workers may be working the same hours that they had in the past — only now they actually report the overtime.
“This reform has had no significant impact on hours worked,” the economists concluded, according to the WSJ.
France operates a foreign trade gap, largely due to its high labour costs.
“It’s a pointless system,” Cahuc told the WSJ.
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