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The Effect of Adult Children’s Working Hours on Visits to Elderly Parents: Evidence from the Reduction in Korea’s Legal Workweek

42 Pages Posted: 16 May 2017 Last revised: 30 Oct 2017

Erin Hye-Won Kim

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Changjun Lee

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Young Kyung Do

Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Institute of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University Medical Research Center

Date Written: May 8, 2017

Abstract

Despite its significant policy implications, little is known about the impact working hours have on how often workers visit their elderly parents. Evidence is particularly lacking on men’s overtime work and workers in Asia. Using a natural experiment in Korea, we examined the causal impact of male workers’ working times on parental visits. In 2004, the Korean government began reducing its legal workweek from 44 to 40 hours, gradually expanding it from larger to smaller establishments by 2011. Using annual longitudinal data from the 2005-2014 Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (N = 7,005 person-waves), we estimated a two-stage least-squares regression model with individual and year fixed-effects (FEs). Our IV was an indicator variable of whether an individual full-time worker’s legal workweek was reduced to 40 hours in a given year. The results showed that working one additional hour a week lowered the frequency of visits by 6.5% (p < .05), which was not apparent in a FE model without the IV. Working long hours has implications for workers’ interactions with their parents. Reducing work hours may serve as an effective policy intervention for improving the well-being of not just workers and their nuclear families, but also their extended families.

Keywords: Working hours, time with parents, legal workweek, instrumental variable, Korea

JEL Classification: D13, J22, J88

Suggested Citation

Kim, Erin Hye-Won and Lee, Changjun and Do, Young Kyung, The Effect of Adult Children’s Working Hours on Visits to Elderly Parents: Evidence from the Reduction in Korea’s Legal Workweek (May 8, 2017). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 17-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2964812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2964812

Erin Hye-Won Kim (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

Changjun Lee

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

Young Kyung Do

Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Institute of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University Medical Research Center ( email )

103 Daehak-ro Jongno-gu
Seoul, 110-799
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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