Economic Analysis of Long Working Hours

Author Name OHTAKE Fumio  (Osaka University) /OKUDAIRA Hiroko  (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University / Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
Creation Date/NO. May 2008 08-J-019
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In this paper we set out the economic grounds for restrictions on long working hours and conduct an empirical analysis using surveys from the perspective of behavioral economics. The results of the analysis indicate that, on a year-on-year basis, if state of health improves, the probability of working more than 60 hours per week increases significantly, but that even when state of health deteriorates there is no decrease in the probability of working long hours. Moreover, among male management personnel who had a characteristic tendency to procrastinate in their assignment as a child, the probability of working for long hours of at least 60 hours per week is significantly higher. On the other hand, among female workers and male workers other than management we find no evidence that procrastination encourages long working hours. It is possible that the long working hours resulting from procrastinatory behavior by male managers bring negative externalities to the workplace, and it is therefore necessary to have a commitment mechanism to compel employees to complete tasks during regular working hours.