Is Part-time Employment Here to Stay? Working Hours of Dutch Women over Successive Generations


  • The authors thank Egbert Jongen, Saskia Keuzenkamp, Peter Kooiman, Janneke Plantenga, Wil Portegijs, Coen Teulings, Daniël van Vuuren, an anonymous referee and participants of the IZA workshop on Balancing Work and Family Life, the EALE-2008 conference, the ESPE-2008 conference and seminars at Tilburg University and CPB for useful comments and discussions. Statistics Netherlands is acknowledged for providing the data.

Nicole Bosch — Anja Deelen (author for correspondence) — Rob Euwals, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, P.O. Box 80510, 2508GM, The Hague. Tel.: +31 70 3383436; E-mail:


The Netherlands combines a high female employment rate with a high part-time employment rate. This is likely to be the result of (societal) preferences as the removal of institutional barriers has not led to higher working hours. We investigate the development of working hours over successive generations of women using the Dutch Labour Force Survey 1992–2005. We find evidence of a strictly increasing propensity to work part-time and a decreasing propensity to work full-time for the generations born after the early 1950s. Our results are in line with results of studies on social norms and attitudes. It seems likely that without changes in (societal) preferences part-time employment is indeed here to stay.