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Do Japanese Work Shorter Hours than before? Measuring trends in market work and leisure using 1976-2006 Japanese time-use survey

  • Kuroda, Sachiko

Using Japanese time-use data from the Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (STULA), this paper measures trends in average hours worked (market work) and leisure for Japanese over the past three decades. OECD reports at least a 15% decline in market work for Japan since the 1970s. However, holding demographic changes constant, we found that market work per week increased from the 1970s until mid-1980s, and has been relatively stable for the last two decades for both male and female full-time workers. Furthermore, although the market work per week remained relatively constant since the mid-1980s, we found a significant change in the allocation of time to market work within the week during the period. Specifically, when dividing samples into weekdays (Monday-Friday) and weekends (Saturday and Sunday), average hours spent for market work per weekday among full-time males increased by 0.4Â h since the mid-1980s, whereas a significant decline in market work on Saturday was observed. This suggests that people shifted their work time from Saturday to weekdays in response to the reduced work week introduced by the amendment of the Labor Standards Act at the end of 1980s. In the meantime, commuting time and home production had decreased by 3Â h since the mid-1980s for full-time female workers, indicating that the average hours of leisure had increased for females even though market work remained the same. Interestingly, however, hours for sleep declined consistently over the last three decades, resulting in a 3-4Â h reduction per week for both male and female workers. Lastly, a comparison of Japanese and US time-use data suggests that Japanese work much longer than their American counterparts. On average, Japanese males work 10Â h longer per week, and Japanese females 7Â h longer, than Americans, even after adjusting for demographic differences between the countries.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of the Japanese and International Economies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 481-502

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:24:y:2010:i:4:p:481-502
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622903

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