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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 percent 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 through Friday) and weekends (Saturday and Sunday), average hours spent for market work per weekday among full-time males increased by 0.4 hour 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 Labour Standards Act at the end of 1980s. In the meantime, commuting time and home production had decreased by 3 hours 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 3-4 hour 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 8.6 hours longer per week, and Japanese females 6.5 hours longer, than Americans, even after adjusting for demographic differences between the countries.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/17113/1/pie_dp419.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series PIE/CIS Discussion Paper with number 419.

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Length: 44 p.
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:piecis:419
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  1. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2009. "A Century of Work and Leisure," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 189-224, July.
  2. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "The 1990s in Japan: a lost decade," Working Papers 607, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Taizo Motonishi & Hirshi Yoshikawa, 1999. "Causes of the Long Stagnation of Japan During the 1990s: Financial or Real?," NBER Working Papers 7351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Daniel S Hamermesh & Michael C Burda & Philippe Weil, 2007. "Total Work, Gender and Social Norms," Sciences Po publications 6232, Sciences Po.
  10. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans Work so Much More than Europeans?," NBER Working Papers 10316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jennifer Hunt, 1996. "Has Work-Sharing Worked in Germany?," NBER Working Papers 5724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  13. Donggyun Shin & Gary Solon, 2007. "New Evidence On Real Wage Cyclicality Within Employer-Employee Matches," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(5), pages 648-660, November.
  14. Bell, D. & Hart, R.A., 1998. "Unpaid Work," Working Papers Series 9803, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
    • Bell, David N F & Hart, Robert A, 1999. "Unpaid Work," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(262), pages 271-90, May.
  15. Bruno Crepon & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Employed 40 Hours or Not Employed 39: Lessons from the 1982 Mandatory Reduction of the Workweek," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1355-1389, December.
  16. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2002. "Timing, togetherness and time windfalls," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 601-623.
  17. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to The 1990s in Japan: A Lost Decade," Technical Appendices hayashi02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
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