How long do Japanese work? - A comparison before and after the shorter work week

Author Name KURODA Sachiko  (the University of Tokyo)
Creation Date/NO. February 2010 10-P-002
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Do Japanese work shorter hours since the reduction of the work week introduced by the amendment of the Labour Standards Act at the end of 1980s? Using Japanese time-use data from the Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities (STULA), this paper measures trends in average hours worked (market work) for Japanese over the past three decades. Holding demographic and lifestyle changes constant, we found that average market work per week in 1986 (before the reduction of the work week) and 2006 (20 years after the amendment) were not statistically different. Although market work per week were not statistically different, we did however, find a significant change in the allocation of time to market work within a week between 1986 and 2006. Specifically, when dividing samples into weekdays (Monday through Friday) and weekends (Saturday and Sunday), the average hours spent for market work per weekday among full-time males increased by 0.4 hours since the mid-1980s, whereas a significant decline in market work on Saturday was observed. This suggests that people shifted their work time from Saturday to weekdays in response to the reduced work week. In addition, we found hours of sleep declined consistently over the last three decades, which may have been caused by the increase of market work during weekdays.