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Flexible Jobs Make Parents Happier: Evidence from Australia

Author

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  • Yu, Shuye

    (University of Groningen)

  • Postepska, Agnieszka

    (University of Groningen)

Abstract

Recent studies have found that self-reported life satisfaction drops during the transition into parenthood which has been mainly attributed to work-family conflict. This study investigates whether different forms of flexible employment can alleviate this drop in parental life satisfaction during this period. A fixed-effects analysis in an event study framework using Australian household survey data (HILDA) delivers convincing evidence that working flexibly indeed alleviates the drop in subjective well-being suggesting that it relieves the stress related to work-family conflict. Moreover, we find substantial gender heterogeneity in the effects different types of flexible employment have on mothers and fathers. Mothers with short part-time jobs (0-20 hours per week) exhibit greater life satisfaction than mothers who work full-time, especially when their children are younger than 4 years old. Among fathers, self-scheduling and home-based work yield a significant increase in perceived happiness as compared to fixed employment terms. This is especially true for fathers of one- and two-years-olds. These results are consistent with a typical intra-household time allocation of parents in Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Shuye & Postepska, Agnieszka, 2020. "Flexible Jobs Make Parents Happier: Evidence from Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 13700, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13700
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    work and family; transition to parenthood; subjective well-being; flexible work;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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