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Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-time Work Puzzle

  • Booth, Alison L.

    ()

    (Australian National University)

  • van Ours, Jan C.

    ()

    (Tilburg University)

Using fixed effects ordered logit estimation, we investigate the relationship between part-time work and working hours satisfaction; job satisfaction; and life satisfaction. We account for interdependence within the family using data on partnered men and women from the British Household Panel Survey. We find that men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work. Life satisfaction is influenced only by whether or not they have a job. For women we are confronted with a puzzle. Hours satisfaction and job satisfaction indicate that women prefer part-time jobs irrespective of whether these are small or large. In contrast, female life satisfaction is virtually unaffected by hours of work. Women without children do not care about their hours of work at all, while women with children are significantly happier if they have a job regardless of how many hours it entails.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3020.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2008, 118 (526) , F77–F99
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3020
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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "The Changing Distribution of Job Satisfaction," NBER Working Papers 7332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  3. Booth, Alison L & van Ours, Jan C, 2005. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-Time Work Make the Family Happier?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Main, Brian G M, 1988. "Hourly Earnings of Female Part-time versus Full-time Employees," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 56(4), pages 331-44, December.
  5. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Michael Burda & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Philippe Weil, 2007. "Total Work, Gender and Social Norms," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-058, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  7. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  8. Booth, A.L. & van Ours, J.C., 2006. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity : Does Part-time Work make the Family Happier?," Discussion Paper 2006-2, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Manning, Alan & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2006. "The Part-Time Pay Penalty for Women in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Francesconi, Marco, 2001. " Determinants and Consequences of Promotions in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(3), pages 279-310, July.
  11. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  12. Clark, Andrew E. & Senik, Claudia, 2004. "The (Unexpected) Structure of "Rents" on the French and British Labour Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 1438, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Clark, Andrew, 1993. "Job Satisfaction and Gender. Why are Women so Happy at Work?," Economics Discussion Papers 10015, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  14. Joan R. Rodgers, 2004. "Hourly Wages of full-time and part-time employees in Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 231-254, June.
  15. Sara Connolly & Mary Gregory, 2008. "Moving Down: Women's Part-Time Work and Occupational Change in Britain 1991-2001," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages F52-F76, 02.
  16. Rainer Winkelmann, 2005. "Subjective well-being and the family: Results from an ordered probit model with multiple random effects," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 749-761, October.
  17. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  18. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  19. Barry T. Hirsch, 2005. "Why Do Part-Time Workers Earn Less? The Role of Worker and Job Skills," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(4), pages 525-551, July.
  20. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  21. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  22. John F. Ermisch & Robert E. Wright, 1993. "Wage Offers and Full-Time and Part-Time Employment by British Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 111-133.
  23. Nick Carroll, 2007. "Unemployment and Psychological Well-being," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 287-302, 09.
  24. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  25. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2000. "Changing Times: Work and Leisure in Postindustrial Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287872.
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