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On the Night Shift: Americans Work More Weird Hours than Europeans

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It is a fact that Americans work longer hours than people in other major industrial countries, but a new survey shows we also work weirder hours -- that's nights and weekends. Almost one-in-three workers performs some weekend work in the U.S., compared to one-in-five in France, Germany or the Netherlands, according to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research also shows one-in-four employed Americans works at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In France and Holland that number is one-in- 14. Britain, perhaps sharing an Anglo-Saxon work ethic with its former colony, looks more like America than the rest of Europe, but is still surpassed by the U.S. in terms of strange work hours. The study draws no conclusions though. "The large majority of the differences between the U.S. and other countries appears to result from differences in the way that work is structured in America," it said. "Whether these fundamental differences result indirectly from some unique characteristics of American and European culture or directly from their expression or absence of expression through legislation or institutions is unclear."

IN-DEPTH

- Steve James, NBCNews.com

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