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Do Non-standard Working Hours Cause Negative Health Effects? Some Evidence from Panel Data


  • Aydogan Ulker



What does the around-the-clock economic activity mean for workers’ health? Despite the fact that non-standard work accounts for an increasing share of the job opportunities, relatively little is known about the potential consequences for health and the existing evidence is ambiguous. In this paper I examine the relationship between non-standard job schedules and workers’ physical and mental health outcomes using longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA). Specifically, the four health indicators considered are self-rated health and the SF-36 health indices for general health, mental health and physical functioning. In terms of direction of the effects, overall results generally suggest a negative relationship between non-standard work schedules and better health for both males and females. Regarding the statistical significance and magnitudes of the effects, however, we observe apparent differences between males and females. Among females, most of the coefficients in all models are statistically insignificant, which implies very small magnitudes in terms of the correlation between non-standard working hours and health. These results apply uniformly to all health measures investigated. Among males, on the other hand, the negative relationship is more noticeable for self-rated health, general health and physical functioning than for mental health. The pooled OLS and random effects coefficients are usually larger in magnitude and more significant than the fixed effects parameters. Nonetheless, even the more significant coefficients, fortunately, do not imply large effects in absolute terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Aydogan Ulker, 2006. "Do Non-standard Working Hours Cause Negative Health Effects? Some Evidence from Panel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 518, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:518

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew Gray & Lixia Qu, 2004. "Long work hours and the wellbeing of fathers and their families," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 255-273, June.
    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, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dockery, Alfred & Li, Jianghong & Kendall, Garth, 2009. "Parents' work patterns and adolescent mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 689-698, February.
    2. repec:zbw:rwirep:0514 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kim, Il-Ho & Muntaner, Carles & Vahid Shahidi, Faraz & Vives, Alejandra & Vanroelen, Christophe & Benach, Joan, 2012. "Welfare states, flexible employment, and health: A critical review," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 99-127.
    4. repec:blg:journl:v:12:y:2017:i:2:p:155-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kleibrink, Jan, 2014. "Sick of your Job? – Negative Health Effects from Non-Optimal Employment," Ruhr Economic Papers 514, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Jan Kleibrink, 2014. "Sick of your Job? – Negative Health Effects from Non-Optimal Employment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0514, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:1:p:3-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Rafael Sánchez, 2017. "Does a Mandatory Reduction of Standard Working Hours Improve Employees' Health Status?," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 3-39, January.

    More about this item


    Non-standard work; physical health; mental health;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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