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Part-time jobs: what women want?

  • Alison Booth


  • Jan Ours


Part-time jobs are common among partnered women in many countries. There are two opposing views on the efficiency implications of so many women working part-time. The negative view is that part-time jobs imply wastage of resources and underutilization of investments in human capital since many part-time working women are highly educated. The positive view is that, without the existence of part-time jobs, female labor force participation would be substantially lower since women confronted with the choice between a full-time job and zero working hours would opt for the latter. In the Netherlands, the majority of partnered working women have a part-time job. Our paper investigates, from a supply-side perspective, if the current situation of abundant part-time work in the Netherlands is likely to be a transitional phase that will culminate in many women working full-time. Our main results indicate that partnered women in part-time work have high levels of job satisfaction, a low desire to change their working hours, and live in partnerships in which household production is highly gendered. Taken together, our results suggest that part-time jobs are what most Dutch women want. Copyright The Author(s) 2013

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 263-283

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:26:y:2013:i:1:p:263-283
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  1. Alison Booth & Jan van Ours, 2005. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-time Work Make the Family Happier?," CEPR Discussion Papers 507, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
  3. Bosch, Nicole & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2009. "Analyzing Female Labor Supply: Evidence from a Dutch Tax Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 4238, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  5. Andrew Clark, . "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 415, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Alison L. Booth & Melvyn B. Coles, 2008. "Tax Policy and Returns to Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 591, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Blank, Rebecca M, 1989. "The Role of Part-Time Work in Women's Labor Market Choices over Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 295-99, May.
  11. Johannes Schwarze & Rainer Winkelmann, 2011. "Happiness and altruism within the extended family," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 1033-1051, July.
  12. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  13. Sara Connolly & Mary Gregory, 2008. "Moving Down: Women's Part-Time Work and Occupational Change in Britain 1991-2001," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages F52-F76, 02.
  14. Rosen, Sherwin, 1983. "Specialization and Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 43-49, January.
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