Work Shorter, Be Happier? Longitudinal Evidence from the Korean Five-Day Working Policy
- 1.8k Downloads
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.
KeywordsExogenous working hours changes Happiness Work-family conflict Gender Interdependent well-being
This paper benefitted from helpful comments from and fruitful discussions with Sung-jin Kang, Stephan Klasen, Carola Gruen, Jan van Ours, Seo-Young Cho, Nick Powdthavee, Maximilian Riedl, Insill Yi, Jaeho Keum, Kyunghee Chung, Stephan Litschig, and participants of the conferences “New Directions in Welfare” in Paris in 2011, the “Singapore Economic Review Conference” in Singapore in 2011, and the AKES conference in Seoul in 2012.
- Ashkenazy, P. (2004). Shorter work time, hours flexibility and labor intensification. Eastern Economic Journal, 30(4), 603–614.Google Scholar
- Baetschmann, G., Staub, K. E., & Winkelmann, R. (2011). Consistent estimation of the fixed effects ordered logit model. The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn.Google Scholar
- Brenner, M. D., Fairris, D., & Ruser, J. (2004). Flexible work practices and occupational safety and health: Exploring the relationship between cumulative trauma disorders and workplace transformation. Industrial Relations, 43(1), 242–266.Google Scholar
- Gray, M., Qu, L., Stanton, D., & Weston, R. (2004). Long work hours and the wellbeing of fathers and their families. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 7(2), 255–273.Google Scholar
- Kang, S.-J. (2010). The analysis on the determinants of life satisfaction in Korea. Kyongjehak Yongu, 58(1), 5–36. (한국인의 생활만족도 결정요인 분석 in Korean).Google Scholar
- Kim, S. T., Park, W. S., Ahn, J., Jeon, B.Y., & Jung, J. H. (2001). The socio-economic effects of reduction in working hours. Korean Labor Institute, Seoul.Google Scholar
- Koo, J., & Suh, E. M. (2011). Happiness in Korea: Who is happy and when? Korean Journal of Social and Personality Psychology, 25, 143–166. (구재선, 서은국 (2011). 한국인, 누가 언제 행복한가? 한국심리학회지: 사회 및 성격, 25(2), 143–166).Google Scholar
- Luttmer, E. F. P. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), 963–1002.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2009). Education at a glance 2009: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2011). Society at a glance 2011: OECD social indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
- OECD (2012). OECD statistics online (stats.oecd.org).
- Rudolf, R., & Cho, S.-Y. (2011). The gender-specific effect of working hours on family happiness in South Korea, Discussion Paper, 77. CRC-PEG.Google Scholar
- Rudolf, R., & Kang, S.-J. (forthcoming). Lags and leads in life satisfaction: What changes under gender inequality? Feminist Economics.Google Scholar
- Seong, J. M. (2005). Impact of the reduction in statutory working hours. KLI Monthly Labor Review, 4, 5.Google Scholar
- Taris, T. W., Ybema, J. F., Beckers, D. G. J., Verheijden, M. W., Geurts, S. A. E., & Kompier, M. A. J. (2011). Investigating the associations among overtime work, health behaviors, and health: A longitudinal study among full-time employees. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 18, 352–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- UNDP. (2004, 2009, 2010). Human development report.Google Scholar
- Virtanen, M., Stansfeld, S. A., Fuhrer, R., Ferrie, J. E., & Kivimäki, M. (2012). Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5-year follow-up of the Whitehall II Study. PLoS ONE, 7(1), e30719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030719.
- World Economic Forum. (2010). The global gender gap report 2010.Google Scholar
- Yang, H. W. (2009). Analysis of the impact of the five-day working policy on leisure activities, leisure expenditure, and leisure satisfaction of Koreans (in Korean). Korean Journal for Policy Analysis and Evaluation, 19(3), 219–248.Google Scholar