IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Drago & Mark Wooden & David Black, 2009. "Long Work Hours: Volunteers and Conscripts," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(3), pages 571-600, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:571-600

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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, March.
    2. Martinez-Granado, Maite, 2005. "Testing labour supply and hours constraints," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 321-343, June.
    3. Mark L Bryan, 2007. "Workers, Workplaces and Working Hours," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(4), pages 735-759, December.
    4. Folbre, Nancy, 1982. "Exploitation Comes Home: A Critique of the Marxian Theory of Family Labour," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 317-329, December.
    5. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2005. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 397-412, November.
    6. 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, September.
    7. Ari Hyytinen & Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen, 2007. "Time Use of the Self-Employed," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 105-122, February.
    8. 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 317-346, September.
    9. Mark Wooden & Nicole Watson, 2007. "The HILDA Survey and its Contribution to Economic and Social Research (So Far)," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 208-231, June.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. S. M. Shafaeddin, 2005. "Forum 2005," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 36(6), pages 1143-1162, November.
    13. 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.
    14. Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2008. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours among U.S. Men, 1979-2006," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 311-343, April.
    15. 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 329-348, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mark Wooden & Robert Drago, 2007. "The Changing Distribution of Working Hours in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2007n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:27-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Robert Breunig & Xiaodong Gong & Gordon Leslie, 2015. "The Dynamics of Satisfaction with Working Hours in Australia: The Usefulness of Panel Data in Evaluating the Case for Policy Intervention," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 130-154, January.
    4. Stefanie Gerold & Matthias Nocker, 2015. "Reduction of Working Time in Austria. A Mixed Methods Study Relating a New Work Time Policy to Employee Preferences," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 97, WWWforEurope.
    5. Frei, Irina & Grund, Christian, 2017. "Antecedents of Overtime Work: The Case of Junior Academics," IZA Discussion Papers 11065, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:47:y:2009:i:3:p:571-600. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.