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Shiftworking And Capital Operating Time In Swedish Manufacturing

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Work Patterns and Capital Utilisation

Abstract

While working hours have been the subject of many studies and the regular collection of statistical data, the operating hours of capital is far from receiving the same attention. Partly the lack of good data explains the small number of studies in this area but the apparently limited interest among theoretical economists is truly surprising considering the potentially significant effect that capital operating hours may have on the actual level and change in productivity.

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Notes

  1. The standard workweek for shiftworkers is founded on a central collective agreement between the Swedish Central Employer Organisation (SAF) and the Central Organisation for blue collar workers LO in 1974. Working time agreements vary both according to the type of shift patterns and sometimes also with bargaining areas. According to the central agreement the length of working time is usually 40 hours for daytime workers, 39 hours for 2-shift workers, 38 hours for semi-continuous workers and 35–36 for continuous workers. Since the eighties there has been a clear tendency to decentralize the level of decision to the industry and even the plant level. For certain bargaining areas, as engineering for instance, the upper limit on working time is stipulated on a yearly basis instead of a weekly basis; for the chemical industry both wage and time compensation for shiftworkers are determined at the plant level.

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  2. Daytime is defined as between 06.45 and 17.45, while shiftwork is defined as two or more shifts that replace each other at fixed hours within a 24 hour period. SCB distinguishes between continuous and semi-continuous shiftwork. The latter implies that work is interrupted at least on Sundays.

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  3. For instance shift premia for the continuous shift-systems are much higher than for the conventional 2-shift systems. For the industry as a whole, the average shift premium for continuous system accounted for 14% of the basic pay in 1972 versus 6% for the 2-shift systems. In 1990 these premia accounted for 21% resp. 10%. Besides it should be recalled that the legal work week is 35 hours for continuous work and 39 hours for 2-shift system. All these elements must explain a part of the substitution between the different shift systems.

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  4. Such industries as basic metal (370) and textiles (320) were particularly affected by restructuring. In the case of textiles for instance, the number of companies fell from 1562 in 1970 to 570 in 1988. Needless to say the remaining companies were larger and more capital intensive — but do not in general employ more workers.

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  5. The value of capital in the different departments from each of the plants has been evaluated at replacement cost.

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  6. With a shift-based measure these workers get the same weight as workers running heavy equipment such as forges which is somewhat unfortunate. With the power-based measures they tend to get a very small weight.

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  7. Power-based measures for the plants outside Sweden could not be calculated since no such data were available.

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  8. Total coverage of our sample is almost 50% of total industrial use of electricity.

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  9. For a general discussion of the differences between the two shift-based measures (U(2) and U(3)) see the methodological chapter of this book, see also Table (A2), Table (A3) and Figure (A4) in the appendix for a comparison of these two measures in the case of Swedish manufacturing.

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  10. It is also interesting to note that the variation between industries is fairly stable as can be seen in the following table.

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  11. Correlation between operating hours and capital intensity.

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Anxo, D., Sterner, T. (1995). Shiftworking And Capital Operating Time In Swedish Manufacturing. In: Anxo, D., Bosch, G., Bosworth, D., Cette, G., Sterner, T., Taddei, D. (eds) Work Patterns and Capital Utilisation. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-3694-7_9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-3694-7_9

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