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

Who Wants Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events

  • Drago, Robert


    (Pennsylvania State University)

  • Wooden, Mark


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

  • Black, David


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

We consider desires for flexibility in weekly hours by analyzing changes in work hours preferences using four years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. We control for work hours preferences in previous years and test for effects on desired labor force participation and, for those wishing to participate, on current hours preferences. Our findings reveal that, in general, women are more sensitive to life events than men. Women’s preferred hours and labor force participation decline sharply with pregnancy and the arrival of children; their preferred hours approach usual levels as children enter school and ultimately decline as they become empty-nesters. We also find women’s preferred hours increasing following separation but falling after divorce, with an opposing pattern for men. Finally, a sizeable minority of retirees have preferences for phased instead of full retirement.

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2404.

in new window

Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 2009, 62(3), 394-414
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2404
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

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. Yi-Ping Tseng & Mark Wooden, 2005. "Preferred vs Actual Working Hours in Couple Households," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  2. Johnson, William R & Skinner, Jonathan, 1986. "Labor Supply and Marital Separation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 455-69, June.
  3. Böheim, René & Taylor, Mark P., 2001. "Actual and preferred working hours," ISER Working Paper Series 2001-06, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  4. Kelly Bedard & Olivier Deschênes, 2005. "Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution, and the Economic Status of Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  5. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "The HILDA Survey Four Years On," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(3), pages 343-349, 09.
  6. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
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:iza:izadps:dp2404. 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: (Mark Fallak)

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.