Tristero quotes Krugman and invites commenters to criticize
The lower number of hours per worker in France seems to fall in the second category. In the United States vacations are very short, and many workers get no vacation at all. France has essentially made a decision, enforced by legal requirements on vacation time as well as union settlements, to trade less income for more time off. And there's some evidence that this decision actually makes most people better off. As one recent study of the difference in working hours between Europe and the United States points out, polls suggest that people would like to work shorter hours, and international comparisons of reported "life satisfaction" seem to say that working less improves the quality of life even if it reduces income. Yet it's very difficult, for any individual, operating on his or her own, to trade less income for more leisure. French rules and regulations that solve this problem by requiring that employers provide vacation may actually be a good thing, even though they reduce GDP.
I agree with Krugman, but a challenge is a challenge. Given the relative work ethics of Paul Krugman and me this is especially ironic but here goes
do people in North America want to work less ? I say North America, because the best data are from Canada, where half of people want to work different hours for the same hourly pay and two thirds of those want to work more. see Kahn, Shulamit; Lang, Kevin; Review of Economics and Statistics, November 1991, v. 73, iss. 4, pp. 605-11 . In the US for most low income men who want to change how much they work, work fewer hours than they would like according to this http://tinyurl.com/yotntf
I think the best way to know if people want to work less is to ask them, and, on avrage, they say the opposite.