Sociological Forum

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 89–120 | Cite as

When Too Much Is Not Enough: Actual and Preferred Work Hours in the United States and Abroad

  • Jeremy Reynolds


This paper places the story of the overworked American in context by examining mismatches between preferred and actual work hours among Japanese, Swedish, West German, and U.S. workers. Although many full-timers in all four countries want to work fewer hours, mismatches come in many forms, and their distributions and determinants vary cross-nationally. The United States, for instance, has an unusually large number of full-time workers who want to work more hours, and a workforce that is especially motivated by opportunities for advancement and a desire for high incomes. Ultimately, the prevalence and determinants of hour mismatches are found to reflect cross-national differences in social, political, and economic environments.

working hours preferred hours overwork cross-national 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens

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