IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Gender-Specific Effect of Working Hours on Family Happiness in South Korea

  • Robert Rudolf

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Seo-Young Cho

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

This paper uses detailed longitudinal data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) stretching from 1998 to 2008 to analyze the relationship between working hours and family happiness in Korea. The Korean labor market is characterized by high levels of gender inequality which is partly due to long working hours, a significant gender gap in earnings, yet also to traditional gender roles maintained until today. Therefore, post-marriage labor force participation rates for men are still double as high as for women. However, significant changes took place over the period of our study. Working hours have been steadily reduced and female labor force participation slightly increased, partly due to the introduction of the 5-day working week in 2004. Hours, job, and life satisfaction have all increased hence. Running fixed-effects ordered logit models on married couples with children, we analyze hours, job, and life satisfaction separately for women and men. Our findings indicate that past working hours reductions increased family happiness in Korea. However, there are still strong gender-specific effects how working hours affect family happiness. Controlling for household income, wives report highest satisfaction when either not-working or working 31 to 40 hours per week. Both part-time and overtime work reduce women’s happiness. Korean husbands, in comparison, are best off when being full-time employed with weekly working hours between 31 and 50. Staying at home or being only part-time employed (1-30 hours) is strongly detrimental to their happiness. For both sexes, cross-partner effects are strongly significant. These findings are particularly interesting in comparison to other countries like Great Britain or Australia where similar studies were carried out (Booth and van Ours, 2008; 2009). Results confirm strong traditional gender roles in Korea until today. In order to further increase female labor force participation and family happiness, further reductions in working hours should be flanked by policies promoting equal chances at the work place, a rethinking of gender identities, and flexible job and child-care solutions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Courant Research Centre PEG in its series Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers with number 77.

in new window

Date of creation: 19 Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:077
Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3; D-37073 Goettingen, GERMANY
Phone: +49 551 39 14066
Fax: + 49 551 39 14059
Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  3. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Paul Frijters, 1999. "The measurement of welfare and well-being; the Leyden approach," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 071a, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:077. 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: (Dominik Noe)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.