His and her working hours and well-Being in Germany: A longitudinal crossover-spillover analysis

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Daniele Florean, Henriette Engelhardt-Woelfler

In: Journal of Family Research 32 (2020), 2, 249-273


This paper investigates the relationship between work time arrangements and personal well-being in married and cohabiting couples. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP), we study how the number of hours worked by the survey respondents and their partners influenced their own well-being. We also investigate possible transmission mechanisms between the two variables, namely income, hours spent in homemaking and care activities, and possible mismatch between desired and actual hours. Using Hybrid panel models we find evidence of different relations according to the respondent’s gender: Women report higher satisfaction with the increase of their partner’s working hours, while the opposite is true for men. At the same time, own hours have a positive effect on men’s life satisfaction, while they have the opposite effect for women. The presence of young children in the household further amplifies these results. Our conclusion is that respondents are happier when their and their partner’s behavior conforms to the roles of female homemaker and male breadwinner. Considering the absence of a strong mechanism related to time needs and time desires, we suggest those results are related to strong traditional attitudes towards gender roles and female labor force participation in the country considered.

Keywords: Work-family balance, Wellbeing, Working hours, Hybrid models
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