Research Paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1139-1163

First online:

Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy

  • Robert RudolfAffiliated withDivision of International Studies, Korea University Email author 

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This article uses detailed longitudinal data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study for the period 1998–2008 to analyze the happiness impact of working hours reductions on workers and their families. The major contribution to the literature is the use of an exogenous reduction in working hours, due to the Korean Five-Day Working Reform, in a subjective well-being (SWB) model. The findings indicate that reductions did not have the expected positive effects on worker well-being. While satisfaction with working hours increased, reductions had no impact on job and life satisfaction. Thus, long working hours might not be as negatively related to worker well-being as predicted by theory. Moreover, positive SWB effects might be offset by rising work intensity.


Exogenous working hours changes Happiness Work-family conflict Gender Interdependent well-being