The contemporary context of unemployment and its political ramifications have made working time a highly topical and sensitive issue, not merely in the EU, but also in other areas of the global labor market. This illuminating book reviews the traditional doctrines concerning working time that are influencing political and intellectual attitudes. The authors illustrate how tools of microeconomic analysis must be modified to explain better the terms of contemporary labor contracts. They introduce powerful concepts such as a generalized production function, cost structure, compensating wage and trade union negotiation, to highlight the scope for political intervention on working time. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of legal time reductions as an employment policy. Taking into consideration new research and renewed political debate, this is an exhaustive text grounded in historical perspective and contemporary facts. By focusing on working time as a central issue of modern societies, this important book will be an invaluable text for scholars as well as decision-makers in the areas of industrial and labor economics.