Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dataset of the day: Required vacation days

Like any empirical economist, I love data. While trolling around today, I happened across this dataset, of legally required vacation days by country.

Required vacation days, along with minimum wages, maternity leave and workplace safety laws, are often mistakenly identified as the causes of wealth. After all, it is rich countries that have these labor laws, so the path to prosperity must be through workplace regulation, right? (Policy recommendations have actually been framed in this manner; sub-Saharan Africa has been advised to offer more maternity leave along similar lines.) But don't confuse wealth producing policies with the wealth reducing policies that already wealthy economies can withstand. The same could be same for increasing the welfare state; all of these policies do not enhance the well being of an economy, but can be withstood by an already vibrant economy.

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