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Long Work Hours: Volunteers and Conscripts

  • Robert Drago
  • Mark Wooden
  • David Black

Using panel survey data from Australia, we divide long hours workers (persons reporting usually working 50 or more hours per week) into groups of 'volunteers', who prefer long hours, and 'conscripts', who do not. We study both the static and dynamic prevalence of the phenomenon. Norms surrounding ideal workers and consumerism play major roles in explaining conscript status, with bargaining power less important. The self-employed often appear as volunteers or conscripts, while gender, rather than motherhood, is a strong predictor of shorter work hours. Both the demand and supply sides of the labour market play a role in explaining the prevalence of long hours conscripts. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2009.

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Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Volume (Year): 47 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 571-600

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Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:571-600
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  1. Merz, Joachim, 2002. "Time and Economic Well-Being--A Panel Analysis of Desired versus Actual Working Hours," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 317-46, September.
  2. S. M. Shafaeddin, 2005. "Forum 2005," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 36(6), pages 1143-1162, November.
  3. Linda Bell, 1998. "Differences in Work Hours and Hours Preferences by Race in the U.S," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(4), pages 481-500.
  4. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
  5. Yi-Ping Tseng & Mark Wooden, 2005. "Preferred vs Actual Working Hours in Couple Households," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  6. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-06 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Bowles, Samuel, 1985. "The Production Process in a Competitive Economy: Walrasian, Neo-Hobbesian, and Marxian Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 16-36, March.
  8. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "The HILDA Survey Four Years On," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(3), pages 343-349, 09.
  9. René Böheim & Mark P. Taylor, 2004. "Actual and Preferred Working Hours," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 149-166, 03.
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