Skip to:
  1. Main navigation
  2. Main content
  3. Footer
Economic Commentary

The Myth of the Overworked American

A perennial debate that has become even more sharply contested in recent months concerns the size and scope of government participation in markets. Free-market proponents believe that unfettered economic competition delivers the greatest prosperity level for the citizenry. Opponents challenge the record of private enterprise to improve the standard of living of individuals from all walks of life. A specific claim is that U.S. workers are increasingly being faced with the unpleasant option of either working ever harder—and enjoying life ever less—or consuming less and watching their material comforts diminish.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Roberts, Kristin, and Peter Rupert. 1995. “The Myth of the Overworked American.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 1/15/1995.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International