The fragile comparability of working time in France and Germany
Measuring working time was one of the objectives assigned to the EU Labour Force Surveys. This article will examine the conditions in which working time estimates were drawn up, based on Labour Force Surveys in France and Germany. It focuses especially on measuring the hours actually worked, a concept preferred in short-term economic analyses and the national accounts. Using an analysis of the different components considered in the calculation of working time, the differences between the two countries were examined in relation to the practical conditions in which the information required for these calculations was collected. Several dimensions appeared essential for a precise understanding of the quality of the information collected during the reference weeks and biases potentially affecting comparisons between countries: the accuracy of questions relating to measurement of absences from work, the tendency of respondents to round up numerical values and biases generated by the conditions in which the survey was administered.