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A Workaholic Economy: Academic Reading Answers

Cambridge 1 Academic Test 3 – Passage 03: A Workaholic Economy reading answers location, explanation and pdf summary. This reading paragraph has been taken from our huge collection of Academic & General Training (GT) Reading practice test PDF’s.

IELTS reading module focuses on evaluating a candidate’s comprehension skills and ability to understand English. This is done by testing the reading proficiency through questions based on different structures and paragraphs (500-950 words each). There are 40 questions in total and hence it becomes extremely important to practice each and every question structure before actually sitting for the exam.

This reading passage mainly consists of following types of questions:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Yes/No/Not Given
  • Match the headings

We are going to read about how the work centric economy could look like. You must read the passage carefully and try to answer all questions correctly. 

A Workaholic Economy

For the primary century or so of the modern transformation expanded usefulness prompted diminishes in working hours. Employees who had been placing in 12-hour days, six days per week, found out their opportunity hands on contracting to 10 hours every day, then, at that point, at last, to eight hours, five days per week. Just a generation prior, social organizers stressed over how individuals would manage this freshly discovered extra energy. In the US, in any event, it appears they need not have bothered.

Although the output per hour of work has more than doubled since 1945, leisure seems reserved largely for the unemployed and underemployed. Those who work full-time spend as much time on the job as they did at the end of World War II. In fact, working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 — perhaps because real wages have stagnated since that year. Bookstores now abound with manuals describing how to manage time and cope with stress.

There are several reasons for lost leisure. Since 1979, companies have responded to improvements in the business climate by having employees work overtime rather than by hiring extra personnel, says economist Juliet B. Schor of Harvard University. Indeed, the current economic recovery has gained a certain amount of notoriety for its “jobless” nature: increased production has been almost entirely decoupled from employment. Some firms are even downsizing as their profits climb. “All things being equal, we’d be better off spreading around the work,’ observes labour economist Ronald G. Ehrenberg of Cornell University.

Yet a host of factors pushes employers to hire fewer workers for more hours and, at the same time, compels workers to spend more time on the job. Most of those incentives involve what Ehrenberg calls the structure of compensation: quirks in the way salaries and benefits are organised that make it more profitable to ask 40 employees to labour an extra hour each than to hire one more worker to do the same 40-hour job.

Professional and managerial employees supply the most obvious lesson along these lines. Once people are on salary, their cost to a firm is the same whether they spend 35 hours a week in the office or 70. Diminishing returns may eventually set in as overworked employees lose efficiency or leave for more arable pastures. But in the short run, the employer’s incentive is clear.

Even hourly employees receive benefits – such as pension contributions and medical insurance – that are not tied to the number of hours they work. Therefore, it is more profitable for employers to work their existing employees harder.

For all that employees complain about long hours, they, too, have reasons not to trade money for leisure. “People who work reduced hours pay a huge penalty in career terms,” Schor maintains. “It”s taken as a negative signal’ about their commitment to the firm.’ [Lotte] Bailyn [of Massachusetts Institute of Technology] adds that many corporate managers find it difficult to measure the contribution of their underlings to a firm’s well-being, so they use the number of hours worked as a proxy for output. “Employees know this,” she says, and they adjust their behavior accordingly.

“Although the image of the good worker is the one whose life belongs to the company,” Bailyn says, “it doesn”t fit the facts.’ She cites both quantitative and qualitative studies that show increased productivity for part-time workers: they make better use of the time they have, and they are less likely to succumb to fatigue in stressful jobs. Companies that employ more workers for less time also gain from the resulting redundancy, she asserts. “The extra people can cover the contingencies that you know are going to happen, such as when crises take people away from the workplace.’ Positive experiences with reduced hours have begun to change the more-is-better culture at some companies, Schor reports.

Larger firms, in particular, appear to be more willing to experiment with flexible working arrangements…

It may take even more than changes in the financial and cultural structures of employment for workers successfully to trade increased productivity and money for leisure time, Schor contends. She says the U.S. market for goods has become skewed by the assumption of full-time, two-career households. Automobile makers no longer manufacture cheap models, and developers do not build the tiny bungalows that served the first postwar generation of home buyers. Not even the humblest household object is made without a microprocessor. As Schor notes, the situation is a curious inversion of the “appropriate technology” vision that designers have had for developing countries: U.S. goods are appropriate only for high incomes and long hours.

Questions 27-32

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in A Workaholic Economy reading passage?

In boxes 27-32 write:

A Workaholic Economy with answers location and pdf summary.
  1. Today, employees are facing a reduction in working hours.
  2. Social planners have been consulted about US employment figures.
  3. Salaries have not risen significantly since the 1970s.
  4. The economic recovery created more jobs.
  5. Bai lyn’s research shows that part-time employees work more efficiently.
  6.  Increased leisure time would benefit two-career households.

Questions 33-34

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in boxes 33 and 34 on your answer sheet.

33. Bailyn argues that it is better for a company to employ more workers because

A) it is easy to make excess staff redundant.

B) crises occur if you are under-staffed.

C) people are available to substitute for absent staff.

D) they can project a positive image at work.

34. Schor thinks it will be difficult for workers in the US to reduce their working hours because …

A) they would not be able to afford cars or homes.

B) employers are offering high incomes for long hours.

C) the future is dependent on technological advances.

D) they do not wish to return to the humble post-war era.

Questions 35-38

The writer mentions a number of factors that have resulted, in employees working longer hours.

Which FOUR of the following factors are mentioned?

Write your answers (A-H) in boxes 35-38 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
A. Books are available to help employees cope with stress.
B. Extra work is offered to existing employees.
C. Increased production has led to joblessness.
D. Benefits and hours spent on the job are not linked.
E. Overworked employees require longer to do their work.
F. Longer hours indicate greater commitment to the firm.
G. Managers estimate staff productivity in terms of hours worked.
H. Employees value a career more than a family.


Check out your A Workaholic Economy reading answers below with locations and explanations given in the text.

QuestionsTaskSkills tested
27-32Yes, No, Not Given• skimming for detailed information
• understanding gist and paraphrase
• identifying attitude and opinion
33-34Multiple choice• skimming for information
• identifying opinion
• understanding paraphrase
• distinguishing between main and supporting points
35-38Selecting factors• skimming for specific information
• making inferences
• understanding paraphrase

Questions 27-32

(Suggested approach)

  • Read the task rubric carefully. Note that you have to make a judgement about the writer’s views.
  • Note, also, the difference between NO (which contradicts the writer’s views) and NOT GIVEN (which means that the writer doesn’t mention this at all).
  • Read question 27. You have to decide whether the writer states that employees have fewer working hours today (compared with the past).
  • Skim through the passage to see if you can come across this information or any contradictory information.
  • The first paragraph states that working hours were reduced after the industrial revolution. However in the second paragraph, the writer states that “… working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 …” and if you read on this fact is reiterated. So the statement (Q27) actually says the opposite of what the writer says. The answer to question 27 is therefore NO.
  • Go on to item 28 and repeat this procedure.
QuestionAnswerLocation of answer in text
27NO“… working hours have increased noticeably since 1970 …”
29YES“… real wages have stagnated since that year (1970).”
30NO“… the current economic recovery has gained a certain amount of notoriety for its «jobless» nature.”
31YES“She cites … studies that show increased productivity for part time workers …”
Have any doubts??? Discuss in the comments ...

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