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Working Hours, Work Identity and Subjective Wellbeing

Author

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  • Mark L. Bryan

    () (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield)

  • Alita Nandi

    () (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex)

Abstract

Following theories of social and economic identity, we use representative data containing measures of personal identity to investigate the interplay of work identity and hours of work in determining subjective wellbeing (job satisfaction, job-related anxiety and depression, and life satisfaction). We find that work identity helps to explain wellbeing in two ways. First, for a given level of hours, having a stronger work identity is associated with higher wellbeing on most measures. Second, a strong work identity reduces the adverse effects of long hours working on some measures, notably job satisfaction and anxiety (for women) and on life satisfaction (for men). The associations of working hours and wellbeing confirm that work is a source of disutility, but these relationships are generally strengthened when controlling for identity – implying that individuals sort into jobs with work hours that match their identities. The effects of both work hours and identity are substantial relative to benchmark effects of health on wellbeing. Our work helps to rationalise recent findings in the literature on the effects of work hours and work hour preferences on wellbeing.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark L. Bryan & Alita Nandi, 2018. "Working Hours, Work Identity and Subjective Wellbeing," Working Papers 2018002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2018002
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    File URL: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2018002
    File Function: First version, March 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    identity; wellbeing; working hours; job satisfaction; anxiety; depression;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J29 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Other
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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