Economics research round-up

In a busy week for the economics section of this blog, here are a few updates on recent economics research that have made it into my inbox.

Research evidence suggests that labour productivity – output per hour worked – can vary over the course of the week. According to a new study from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), employers could therefore benefit by reorganising working time – perhaps by concentrating employees’ hours in the middle of the week or introducing greater flexibility in work schedules. And there may be productivity benefits from shifting the timing of non-religious bank holidays from Mondays to Fridays.

The report by Alex Bryson and John Forth, which is published by CEP’s Manpower Human Resources Lab, finds that: The traditional working days of Monday to Friday each account for around one sixth of the aggregate supply of working time across a typical week. Tuesday accounts for the largest share of working time (18.8%) and Friday the lowest (16.8%)

More than half – 53% – of young people aged between 11 and 15 in England say their families don’t mind them drinking alcohol as long as they don’t drink too much. But just under half – 45% – of 11-to-15 year olds say that their families wouldn’t like them to drink at all.

These are among the findings of the latest Survey of Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, edited by Elizabeth Fuller from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). The results also show that young people’s drinking behaviour tends to reflect what their families think.

Britain’s trade unions no longer have the organisational resources to reach out to new workers and new workplaces, according to new research from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP). Union membership continues to decline and, despite a series of mergers, most of them face severe financial difficulties.

But although the general picture looks bleak, there is a glimmer of hope in the handful of success stories – unions representing professional workers. The most successful unions, both in membership terms and financially, organise occupations rather than industries or workplaces, notably doctors (the British Medical Association), nurses (the Royal College of Nurses) and teachers (the National Union of Teachers).

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the topic of economics.