It’s a long-established fact that Americans work longer hours than their European counterparts—30 percent more, according to recent studies.
You’ll typically hear it’s because of our work ethic and smaller welfare state: We continue to be the country of Thoreau, Jefferson, and the Puritans, while Europeans prefer their mandatory six weeks of vacation.
Why would this be the case? Researchers believe it’s because marriage provides “implicit social insurance” for women, who are still more likely to be the secondary income-earners in the U.S. and Europe. So in the U.S., where divorce rates are higher, “women have a higher incentive to obtain work experience in case they find themselves alone in the future,” they write. “European women anticipate not getting divorced as often and hence find less reason to insure themselves by working as much as American women.”