The Gender Gap in Employment Hours: Do Work-Hour Regulations Matter?


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Description: In all developed countries, women, especially mothers, work fewer paid hours than their spouses. However, the magnitude of the gender gap varies significantly by country, ranging from 2 to 20 hours per week in this study. Using data from the 2002 International Social Survey Programme, this article investigates whether work-hour regulations have a significant effect on household allocation of paid labour and gender work-hour inequality. Two main types of work-hour regulations are examined: standard weekly work hours and the maximum allowable weekly work hours. Results show that households in countries with shorter maximum weekly work hours had less work-hour inequality between spouses, as each additional allowable overtime hour over the standard workweek increased the work-hour gap between couples by 20 minutes. These results indicate that couples’ inequality in work hours and gender inequality in labour supply are associated with country-level work-hour regulations.


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