Who Wants and Gets Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events

Posted: 15 Feb 2011

See all articles by Robert W. Drago

Robert W. Drago

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations

Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Black

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

Using panel data for 2001-2005 from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, the authors examine workers' desires for, and achievement of, work hour flexibility. They estimate a dynamic model that controls for preferences in previous years and tests for the effects of life events on both desired employment and desired work hours. Many life events, such as motherhood and retirement, are found to have predictable effects. Parallel regressions are estimated for actual employment and the number of hours usually worked, and the results are compared to those for preferences. The dynamics of usual hours often mirror those for preferences, suggesting that labor markets function effectively for many employees. However, mismatches are associated with three life events: motherhood, widowhood for men, and job loss. The results also suggest that many men and women would extend employment under phased retirement programs, although only for a brief period.

Keywords: Australia, HILDA, work hour flexibility, motherhood, widowhood, job loss

JEL Classification: J22, J12

Suggested Citation

Drago, Robert W. and Wooden, Mark and Black, David, Who Wants and Gets Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events (April 1, 2009). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 62, No. 3, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1761360

Robert W. Drago (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States
814-865-0751 (Phone)
814-863-3578 (Fax)

Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David Black

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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