3. Jan, 2007

Why Europe works less and grows taller

Money isn’t everything. Even if national economic output per capita remains higher in the United States than in most of Europe, several European countries’ output per hour worked now exceeds that of the United States because many Europeans prefer and can afford to work less by, for example, retiring earlier than Americans. Measures of the biological standard of living based on variations in human stature across countries convey a similar pattern, suggesting that in recent decades adult Europeans who used to be shorter than Americans have grown significantly taller while working less. Greater tolerance of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth in the United States than in Europe may have taken its toll.