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Social Norms on Working Hours, Work-Life Balance, and Fertility Choice


  • Kohei Daido

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)

  • Ken Tabata

    () (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)


This paper studies the role played by the social norms of working hours in a household labor- leisure and fertility decision model. We suppose that social norms enforce workers not to deviate from the ideal level of working hours, which depends on past and current observations of working hours in workplaces. We show that the social norms lead to multiple equilibria: one with long working hours and a low fertility rate and another with short working hours and a high fertility rate. Our results may help to explain the long working hours and low fertility rate that are observed in Japan.

Suggested Citation

  • Kohei Daido & Ken Tabata, 2013. "Social Norms on Working Hours, Work-Life Balance, and Fertility Choice," Discussion Paper Series 108, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Sep 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:108

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
    2. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    3. KURODA, Sachiko & YAMAMOTO, Isamu, 2011. "What determines work hours?: who you work with or where you work," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f155, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo.
    4. Kalemli-Ozcan, Sebnem, 2002. "Does the Mortality Decline Promote Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 411-439, December.
    5. Alessandro Balestrino & Alessandro Cigno & Anna Pettini, 2002. "Endogenous Fertility and the Design of Family Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(2), pages 175-193, March.
    6. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    7. Makoto Hirazawa & Akira Yakita, 2009. "Fertility, child care outside the home, and pay-as-you-go social security," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 565-583, July.
    8. Palivos, Theodore, 2001. "Social norms, fertility and economic development," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 1919-1934, December.
    9. Kuroda, Sachiko, 2010. "Do Japanese Work Shorter Hours than before? Measuring trends in market work and leisure using 1976-2006 Japanese time-use survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 481-502, December.
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    More about this item


    Fertility; Work-life balance; Social norms; Peer effects;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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