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Work Hours Constraints: Impacts and Policy Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Constant, Amelie F.

    () (DIW DC, George Washington University)

  • Otterbach, Steffen

    () (University of Hohenheim)

Abstract

If individuals reveal their preference as consumers, then they are taken seriously. What happens if individuals, as employees, reveal their preferences in working hours? And what happens if there is a misalignment between actual hours worked and preferred hours, the so-called work hours constraints? How does this affect the productivity of workers, their health, and overall life satisfaction? Labor supply and corresponding demand are fundamental to production. Labor economists know for long that the fit of a worker in a job and the matching of skills to the assigned employment are of paramount importance; they guarantee high productivity, quality output, and individual happiness. Employees demand higher social awareness and a working environment where they feel useful and happy. The evidence shows that discrepancies between preferred hours of work and actual hours of work can have serious detrimental effects on workers, perverse effects on labor supply with unintended direct ramifications on the labor market and indirect implications on the goods and services markets. The sooner employers acknowledge and address working hours constraints the faster we can build work lives that make us better off.

Suggested Citation

  • Constant, Amelie F. & Otterbach, Steffen, 2011. "Work Hours Constraints: Impacts and Policy Implications," IZA Policy Papers 35, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp35
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Steffen Otterbach, 2010. "Mismatches Between Actual and Preferred Work Time: Empirical Evidence of Hours Constraints in 21 Countries," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 143-161, June.
    3. Mark Wooden & Diana Warren & Robert Drago, 2009. "Working Time Mismatch and Subjective Well-being," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(1), pages 147-179, March.
    4. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Ziegler, Alexandre, 2003. "Asymmetric information about workers' productivity as a cause for inefficient long working hours," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 727-747, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Silke Anger, 2006. "Zur Vergütung von Überstunden in Deutschland: unbezahlte Mehrarbeit auf dem Vormarsch," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 73(15/16), pages 189-196.
    7. David Bell & Steffen Otterbach & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2012. "Work Hours Constraints and Health," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 105-106, pages 35-54.
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    12. Elke Holst, 2009. "Vollzeitbeschäftigte wollen kürzere, Teilzeitbeschäftigte längere Arbeitszeiten," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 76(25), pages 409-415.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elke Wolf, 2014. "The German Part-Time Wage Gap: Bad News for Men," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 663, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Begoña Álvarez & Daniel Miles-Touya, 2016. "Time Allocation and Women’s Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1207-1230, December.
    3. Wunder, Christoph, 2016. "Working hours mismatch and well-being: comparative evidence from Australian and German panel data," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145544, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor market; work time; work hours constraints; health; happiness; satisfaction;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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