Unhappiness Is Unpredictability
16 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 13 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 12, 2017
This is a follow-up on “Happiness is Flextime” (Okulicz-Kozaryn and Golden 2017), but with focus on the case of unpredictability, the polar opposite of flextime. We study how schedule unpredictability is associated with a worker’s subjective wellbeing (SWB). We use the 2016 US General Social Survey containing Quality of Work life and Work Orientations modules. We include only respondents who are either full-time or part-time employees on payrolls. We find that in general the more the instability and unpredictability of work schedules, the lower is their SWB. Results in general have large size effects, at least as much as the effect of income. Although results are specific for the US, our findings provide support for both public and organizational policies that would promote increased predictability and advance notice for the timing of daily work shifts, particularly because the US may be an outlier in the developed world regarding the institutional barriers to last minute work scheduling and its underlying causes.
Keywords: Happiness; Unhappiness; Flexible Work Scheduling; Flextime; GSS; Unpredictable Work; Subjective Well-Being
JEL Classification: I31; J22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation