Disparities in Working Time: A Cross-National Analysis of the Distribution of Work Hours

Janet Gornick, City University of New York
Traci Schlesinger, Princeton University

We investigate intra-country distributions of work hours, in cross-national perspective. Using data from the Luxembourg Income Study and from labor force surveys, we compare working time distributions, as of the year 2000, across a group of twelve industrialized countries -- Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Clearly, work hours constitute a resource as they result in income for workers and their families. They also constitute a burden -- especially if the work is onerous -- and time spent in employment always has opportunity costs; long work hours crowd out caregiving, leisure, and/or personal care. In this paper, we assess disparities in working time, recognizing the importance of both "over-work" and "under-work". We assess patterns of variation, within and across countries -- especially with respect to gender, parenting status, and age, as well as educational attainment and household income.

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Presented in Session 118: International Perspectives on Inequality