Outsourced to Paul Krugman:
Lifestyles Of The Rich But Not Famous - NYTimes.com: Today, David Brooks suggests that economic growth has slowed because these days the affluent are more into self-improvement and life quality... we’re suffering from a decline in materialism. My immediate reaction was that this is all wrong — that people like David’s hypothetical Jared are actually rare, that the reality is that we’re more into the rat race than ever before. What I always think about is the commuter trains. When I was growing up on Long Island, there was a clear social hierarchy in terms of when people went to work: take a 7:30 train and it was full of blue-collar workers, take a 9:00 train and it was full of men in good suits, heading in to spend a couple of hours pushing papers around before taking their three-martini lunches. Today, the highest-paid also put in enormous hours — and you can find plenty of them on that 7:30 train, or even earlier.
But dueling anecdotes only get you so far. What about data?
Well, Google “hours worked per family” and you get this Minneapolis Fed paper (pdf) on the subject... what it all suggests is that most American families are working more, and that
When we compare households with diﬀerent skill mixes, we also ﬁnd dramatic diﬀerences in the time paths, with higher skill households having the largest increase in average hours over time.