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Arbeitszeitwünsche, Arbeitslosigkeit und Arbeitszeitpolitik

  • Gerd Grözinger
  • Wenzel Matiaske
  • Verena Tobsch

Whereas preferences of consumers are a cornerstone of market economies, preferences of employees e.g. regarding the preferred amount of paid labour are mostly not. However, we find strong evidence that differences between aspired and actually worked weekly hours have a serious negative impact on all three dimensions of satisfaction considered: Life satisfaction, which in turn is strongly related to many dimensions of social life; satisfaction with work, which affects productivity directly and health satisfaction, which influences morbidity and mortality as shown by studies of the WHO. This paper investigates the gap between employees preferences and realities by means of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) data. Although restricted to Germany, our basic findings are much in accordance with European-wide research projects, especially by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The central analyzed question is: How many hours one would like to work, taking into account that earnings would change accordingly. A majority of German employees wanted a labor time reduction and only a small minority prefers an enlargement. By combining both effects, more than 2,4 million additional employees could have been statistically brought into work again. In addition, satisfaction would have been improved, consumerism somewhat mellowed. And, since mainly persons with children wanted to reduce their working hours, family life would have gained significantly. Der Beitrag untersucht auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels 2004 die Arbeitszeitwünsche der abhängig Beschäftigten in Deutschland unter Berücksichtigung von damit einhergehenden Einkommensveränderungen. Es wird gezeigt, dass die in der arbeitsmarktpolitischen Diskussion häufig übersehenen Zeitpräferenzen der Arbeitnehmer und Arbeitnehmerinnen von hoher Relevanz für die Lebens-, Gesundheits- und Arbeitszufriedenheit sind. Fallen gewünschte und realisierte Arbeitszeit auseinander, sinkt die jeweilige Bereichszufriedenheit erheblich. Zufrieden mit ihrer Arbeitszeit ist ein gutes Viertel. Ihre bezahlten Wochenstunden erhöhen möchten weniger als ein Fünftel, vorwiegend teilbeschäftigte Männer in den neuen Bundesländern. Dagegen wollen mehr als die Hälfte der Befragten sie senken, und zwar Männer wie Frauen. Alle Wünsche zusammen genommen ergibt sich, wie auch schon in anderen Studien berichtet, ein rechnerisches Umverteilungsvolumen von über 2,4 Mill. Vollzeitstellen. Zur Erreichung einer besseren Präferenzumsetzung wird eine neue Einrichtung vorgeschlagen: Eine Arbeitszeitagentur. In institutioneller Analogie zur Zentralbank sollte sie unabhängig sein, mit der Zielvorgabe, mit Hilfe von Arbeitszeitpolitik Arbeitslosigkeit zu bekämpfen.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 103.

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Length: 19 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp103
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