Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle*


  • *

     This article is part of a research project on part-time work funded by an ARC Discovery award. We are grateful to Hiau Joo Kee and Margi Wood for processing the data and to the anonymous referees for their useful suggestions. We presented an early version in December 2006 at the UK Department of Trade and Industry Conference on New Perspectives on Job Satisfaction and Wellbeing, and we thank participants for their comments.


We investigate the relationship between part-time work and working hours satisfaction, job satisfaction and life satisfaction. We account for interdependence within the family using data on partnered men and women from the British Household Panel Survey. Men have the highest hours-of-work satisfaction if they work full-time without overtime hours but neither their job satisfaction nor their life satisfaction are affected by how many hours they work. Women present a puzzle. Hours satisfaction and job satisfaction indicate that women prefer part-time jobs irrespective of whether these are small or large but their life satisfaction is virtually unaffected by hours of work.