Work–life balance, as an effort to achieve a balance between work and personal (family) life, has been a key area of concern in labor policies since the early 2000s. One factor contributing to this trend is the implicit assumption that implementing a work–life balance policy increases people’s life satisfaction. The association between work–life balance and life satisfaction, however, is not self-evident. In this article, we investigate the effect of work–life balance on life satisfaction using data on men and women in OECD countries. A cross-sectional analysis suggests that implementing work–life balance policy leads to the improvement of life satisfaction for both men and women. However, the work–life balance elasticity of life satisfaction—the percentage change in life satisfaction in response to a 1% change in the level of work–life balance—is greater for men than for women. Conventionally, work–life balance issues have predominantly been thought to concern women rather than men. The present results imply that institutional design that adequately incorporates the work–life balance of both men and women is important for increasing life satisfaction.
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For example, Karkoulian et al. (2016) noted that, given the crucial role that work–life balance plays in the well-being of employees, existing studies have devoted extensive research efforts to determining the effects of different variables on the quality of employees’ work–life balance.
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An earlier version of this article was presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the Japan Economic Policy Association, Kokushikan University, May 2015. I am grateful to Professor Hiroyuki Kawanobe for constructive comments and discussions. Two anonymous reviewers have also offered helpful remarks, which have made this article more valuable and readable.
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Noda, H. Work–Life Balance and Life Satisfaction in OECD Countries: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. J Happiness Stud 21, 1325–1348 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-019-00131-9
- Work–life balance
- Life satisfaction
- Income inequality