Original Paper

Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 263-283

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Part-time jobs: what women want?

  • Alison L. BoothAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of EssexResearch School of Economics, Australian National UniversityIZACEPR
  • , Jan C. van OursAffiliated withIZACEPRCentER, Department of Economics, Tilburg UniversityDepartment of Economics, University of MelbourneCESifo Email author 


Part-time jobs are common among partnered women in many countries. There are two opposing views on the efficiency implications of so many women working part-time. The negative view is that part-time jobs imply wastage of resources and underutilization of investments in human capital since many part-time working women are highly educated. The positive view is that, without the existence of part-time jobs, female labor force participation would be substantially lower since women confronted with the choice between a full-time job and zero working hours would opt for the latter. In the Netherlands, the majority of partnered working women have a part-time job. Our paper investigates, from a supply-side perspective, if the current situation of abundant part-time work in the Netherlands is likely to be a transitional phase that will culminate in many women working full-time. Our main results indicate that partnered women in part-time work have high levels of job satisfaction, a low desire to change their working hours, and live in partnerships in which household production is highly gendered. Taken together, our results suggest that part-time jobs are what most Dutch women want.


Part-time work Happiness Satisfaction Working hours Gender

JEL Classification

J22 I31 J16