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Arbeitszeitwünsche, Arbeitslosigkeit und Arbeitszeitpolitik


Author Info

  • Gerd Grözinger
  • Wenzel Matiaske
  • Verena Tobsch


Whereas preferences of consumers are a cornerstone of market economies, preferences of employees e.g. regarding the preferred amount of paid labour are mostly not. However, we find strong evidence that differences between aspired and actually worked weekly hours have a serious negative impact on all three dimensions of satisfaction considered: Life satisfaction, which in turn is strongly related to many dimensions of social life; satisfaction with work, which affects productivity directly and health satisfaction, which influences morbidity and mortality as shown by studies of the WHO. This paper investigates the gap between employees preferences and realities by means of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) data. Although restricted to Germany, our basic findings are much in accordance with European-wide research projects, especially by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The central analyzed question is: How many hours one would like to work, taking into account that earnings would change accordingly. A majority of German employees wanted a labor time reduction and only a small minority prefers an enlargement. By combining both effects, more than 2,4 million additional employees could have been statistically brought into work again. In addition, satisfaction would have been improved, consumerism somewhat mellowed. And, since mainly persons with children wanted to reduce their working hours, family life would have gained significantly. Der Beitrag untersucht auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels 2004 die Arbeitszeitwünsche der abhängig Beschäftigten in Deutschland unter Berücksichtigung von damit einhergehenden Einkommensveränderungen. Es wird gezeigt, dass die in der arbeitsmarktpolitischen Diskussion häufig übersehenen Zeitpräferenzen der Arbeitnehmer und Arbeitnehmerinnen von hoher Relevanz für die Lebens-, Gesundheits- und Arbeitszufriedenheit sind. Fallen gewünschte und realisierte Arbeitszeit auseinander, sinkt die jeweilige Bereichszufriedenheit erheblich. Zufrieden mit ihrer Arbeitszeit ist ein gutes Viertel. Ihre bezahlten Wochenstunden erhöhen möchten weniger als ein Fünftel, vorwiegend teilbeschäftigte Männer in den neuen Bundesländern. Dagegen wollen mehr als die Hälfte der Befragten sie senken, und zwar Männer wie Frauen. Alle Wünsche zusammen genommen ergibt sich, wie auch schon in anderen Studien berichtet, ein rechnerisches Umverteilungsvolumen von über 2,4 Mill. Vollzeitstellen. Zur Erreichung einer besseren Präferenzumsetzung wird eine neue Einrichtung vorgeschlagen: Eine Arbeitszeitagentur. In institutioneller Analogie zur Zentralbank sollte sie unabhängig sein, mit der Zielvorgabe, mit Hilfe von Arbeitszeitpolitik Arbeitslosigkeit zu bekämpfen.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 103.

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Length: 19 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp103

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Keywords: Labour market; workings hours; unemployment; happiness; satisfaction;

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Cited by:
  1. Bell, David N.F. & Otterbach, Steffen & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2011. "Work Hours Constraints and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 6126, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Steffen Otterbach, 2010. "Mismatches Between Actual and Preferred Work Time: Empirical Evidence of Hours Constraints in 21 Countries," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 143-161, June.
  3. Sarah Holly & Alwine Mohnen, 2012. "Impact of Working Hours on Work-Life Balance," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 465, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Wunder, Christoph & Heineck, Guido, 2012. "Working time preferences, hours mismatch and well-being of couples: Are there spillovers?," BERG Working Paper Series, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group 85, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
  5. Ehing, Daniel, 2013. "Unter- und Überbeschäftigung in Deutschland: Eine Analyse wesentlicher Einflussfaktoren auf die Unterbeschäftigung in Teilzeit," FZG Discussion Papers, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG), University of Freiburg 53, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG), University of Freiburg.
  6. Elke Wolf, 2014. "The German Part-Time Wage Gap: Bad News for Men," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 663, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).


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