Who Wants Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events

29 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2006

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: October 2006

Abstract

We consider desires for flexibility in weekly hours by analyzing changes in work hours preferences using four years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. We control for work hours preferences in previous years and test for effects on desired labor force participation and, for those wishing to participate, on current hours preferences. Our findings reveal that, in general, women are more sensitive to life events than men. Women's preferred hours and labor force participation decline sharply with pregnancy and the arrival of children; their preferred hours approach usual levels as children enter school and ultimately decline as they become empty-nesters. We also find women's preferred hours increasing following separation but falling after divorce, with an opposing pattern for men. Finally, a sizeable minority of retirees have preferences for phased instead of full retirement.

Keywords: working hours, preferences, life events, HILDA surve

JEL Classification: J22

Suggested Citation

Drago, Robert W. and Wooden, Mark and Black, David, Who Wants Flexibility? Changing Work Hours Preferences and Life Events (October 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2404. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944036

Robert W. Drago

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 (Contact Author)

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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