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The Determinants of Part-Time Work in EU Countries: Empirical Investigations with Macro-Panel Data

  • Buddelmeyer, Hielke

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

  • Mourre, Gilles

    ()

    (European Commission)

  • Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E.

    ()

    (European Central Bank)

This paper aims to identify the contribution of the business cycle and structural factors to the development of part-time employment in the EU-15 countries, through the exploitation of both cross-sectional and time series variations over the past two decades. Key results include that the business cycle is found to exert a negative effect on part-time employment developments. This is consistent with firms utilising part-time employment as a means of adjusting their labour force to economic conditions. Correspondingly, involuntary part-time employment is found to be countercyclical, being higher in troughs of economic activity. Splitting our sample reveals a very significant effect of the business cycle on the rate of part-time work for young and male prime-age workers. Conversely, the effect is very weak for women and insignificant for older workers. Institutions and other structural factors are also found to be significant and important determinants of the rate of part-time employment. Changes in legislation to part-time employment are found to be effective, having a strong and positive impact on part-time employment developments. Moreover, employment protection legislation is positively correlated with the part-time employment rate, which is consistent with the use of part-time work as a tool for enhancing flexibility in the presence of rigid labour markets. Less robust evidence suggests the presence of unemployment traps for some potential part-time workers. Cross-country evidence also indicates that the lower labour costs borne by firms when employing part-time workers has a large and positive influence on the part-time employment rate.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1361.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1361
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  1. Maia Güell & Barbara Petrongolo, 2000. "Workers Transitions from Temporary to Permanent Employment: the Spanish Case," CEP Discussion Papers dp0438, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Michèle Belot & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Does the recent success of some OECD countries in lowering their unemployment rates lie in the clever design of their labor market reforms?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 621-642, October.
  3. Buddelmeyer, Hielke & Mourre, Gilles & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie, 2005. "Part-time work in EU countries: labour market mobility, entry and exit," Working Paper Series 0460, European Central Bank.
  4. Luca Nunziata, 2001. "Institutions and Wage Determination: a Multi-Country Approach," Economics Papers 2001-W29, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  15. Jacqueline O'Reilly & Silke Bothfeld, 2002. "What happens after working part time? Integration, maintenance or exclusionary transitions in Britain and western Germany," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 409-439, July.
  16. Stephen Millard & Andrew Scott & Marianne Sensier, 1999. "Business cycles and the labour market can theory fit the facts?," Bank of England working papers 93, Bank of England.
  17. Buddelmeyer, Hielke & Mourre, Gilles & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2004. "Recent Developments in Part-Time Work in EU-15 Countries: Trends and Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 1415, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  19. Rebecca M. Blank, 1994. "The Dynamics of Part-Time Work," NBER Working Papers 4911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Euwals, Rob & Hogerbrugge, Maurice, 2004. "Explaining the Growth of Part-Time Employment: Factors of Supply and Demand," IZA Discussion Papers 1124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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