IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Working Hours Flexibility and Older Workers' Labor Supply


  • Gielen, Anne C.

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)


This paper studies the presence of hours constraints on the UK labor market and its effect on older workers labor supply, both at the extensive and the intensive margin. Using panel data for the period 1991-2004, the results from a competing risks model show that over-employed male workers can freely reduce working hours with their current employer before retiring completely. However, some over-employed women are observed to leave the labor market early due to hours constraints. Despite the fact that more flexibility in hours may increase labor market participation of older women, this paper presents some explorative results which illustrate that increasing working hours flexibility does not seem to increase older workers total labor supply as has often been suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • Gielen, Anne C., 2007. "Working Hours Flexibility and Older Workers' Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 2946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2946

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. René Böheim & Mark P. Taylor, 2004. "Actual and Preferred Working Hours," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 149-166, March.
    2. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1986. "Job Characteristics and Hours of Work," NBER Working Papers 1895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Meghir, Costas & Whitehouse, Edward, 1997. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 327-354, August.
    5. Blau, David M. & Riphahn, Regina T., 1999. "Labor force transitions of older married couples in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 229-252, June.
    6. van de Coevering, Clement & Foster, Daniel & Haunit, Paula & Kennedy, Cathal & Meagher, Sarah & Van den Berg, Jennie, 2006. "Estimating economic and social welfare impacts of pension reform," MPRA Paper 1623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Euwals, Rob, 2001. "Female Labour Supply, Flexibility of Working Hours, and Job Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages 120-134, May.
    8. Wolf, Elke, 1998. "Do hours restrictions matter? A discrete family labor supply model with endogenous wages and hours restrictions," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-44, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2004. "Minimum Hours Constraints, Job Requirements and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 10876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 1987. "The demand for labor in the long run," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 429-471 Elsevier.
    11. Gielen, Anne C. & van Ours, Jan C., 2006. "Age-specific cyclical effects in job reallocation and labor mobility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 493-504, August.
    12. James Banks & Sarah Smith, 2006. "Retirement in the UK," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 40-56, Spring.
    13. Eytan Sheshinski, 2005. "Longevity and Aggregate Savings," Discussion Paper Series dp403, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    14. Van den Berg, Gerard J., 2001. "Duration models: specification, identification and multiple durations," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 55, pages 3381-3460 Elsevier.
    15. Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Free to choose? Differences in the hours determination of constrained and unconstrained workers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 226-252, April.
    16. Michaud, Pierre-Carl, 2003. "Joint Labour Supply Dynamics of Older Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 832, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Shulamit B. Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1995. "The Causes of Hours Constraints: Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4a), pages 914-928, November.
    18. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    19. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    20. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1992. "Constraints on the Choice of Work Hours: Agency Versus Specific-Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 661-678.
    21. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1997. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 520-535, March.
    22. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2259-2281, September.
    23. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1992. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints, and Job Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 256-278.
    24. Charles Decicca, 2007. "Hours Flexibility And Retirement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(2), pages 251-267, April.
    25. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, September.
    26. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-276, April.
    27. Eytan Sheshinski, 2006. "Note on Longevity and Aggregate Savings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(2), pages 353-356, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kevin E. Cahill & Michael D. Giandrea & Joseph F. Quinn, 2014. "The Impact of Hours Flexibility on Career Employment, Bridge Jobs, and the Timing of Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 880, Boston College Department of Economics.
    2. Andrea Albanese & Bart Cockx & Yannick Thuy, 2015. "Working Time Reductions At The End Of The Career. Do They Prolong The Time Spent In Employment?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 15/916, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Carmen Camacho & Fabio Mariani & Luca Pensieroso, 2017. "Illegal immigration and the shadow economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(6), pages 1050-1080, December.
    4. Bernhard Boockmann & Jan Fries & Christian Göbel, 2012. "Specific Measures for Older Employees and Late Career Employment," IAW Discussion Papers 89, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    5. Fouarge Didier & Baaijens Christine, 2009. "Job Mobility and hours of work: the effect of Dutch legislation," ROA Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    6. Muriel Dejemeppe & Catherine Smith & Bruno der Linden, 2015. "Did the Intergenerational Solidarity Pact increase the employment rate of older workers in Belgium? A macro-econometric evaluation," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, December.
    7. Stephan Humpert & Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "Explaining Age and Gender Differences in Employment Rates: A Labor Supply Side Perspective," Working Paper Series in Economics 214, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    8. Elsayed A.E.A. & Grip A. de & Fouarge D. & Montizaan R.M., 2015. "Gradual retirement, financial incentives, and labour supply of older workers: Evidence from a stated preference analysis," Research Memorandum 030, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. Nikolaus Graf & Helmut Hofer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2009. "Labour Supply Effects of a Subsidised Old-Age Part-Time Scheme in Austria," Economics working papers 2009-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    10. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Härtl, Klaus & Leite, Duarte Nuno, 2017. "Earnings test, non-actuarial adjustments and flexible retirement," MEA discussion paper series 201706, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    11. Rowena A Pecchenino & Julie Byrne, 2017. "Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho:The Way We (Would Like to) Work Now," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n282-17.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    12. Hans FEHR, "undated". "Pension Reform with Variable Retirment Age," EcoMod2010 259600055, EcoMod.
    13. repec:eee:joecag:v:6:y:2015:i:c:p:123-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:eee:joecag:v:1-2:y:2013:i::p:28-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Börsch-Supan, A. & Härtl, K. & Leite, D.N., 2016. "Social Security and Public Insurance," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
    16. Sergi Jiménez Martín & Judit Vall Castello, 2009. "Business Cycle Effects on Labour Force Transitions for Older People in Spain," Working Papers 2009-25, FEDEA.
    17. Bell, David N.F. & Rutherford, Alasdair C., 2013. "Older Workers and Working Time," IZA Discussion Papers 7546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    mobility; hours constraint; labor supply; retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2946. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.