August 2012

IZA DP No. 6786: Working Time Preferences, Hours Mismatch and Well-Being of Couples: Are There Spillovers?

revised version published in: Labour Economics, 2013, 24, 244-252.

We analyze how well-being is related to working time preferences and hours mismatch. Self-reported measures of life satisfaction are used as an empirical approximation of true wellbeing. Our results indicate that well-being is generally lower among workers with working time mismatch. Particularly underemployment is detrimental for well-being. We further provide first evidence on spillovers from the partner's working time mismatch. However, the spillover becomes insignificant once we control for the partner's well-being. This suggests that well-being is contagious, and the spillover is due to interdependent utilities. Females experience the highest well-being when their partner is working full-time hours. Male wellbeing is unaffected over a wide interval of the partner's working hours.