Why Do Europeans Work Part-Time? A Cross-Country Panel Analysis

51 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008

See all articles by Gilles Mourre

Gilles Mourre

European Union - European Commission

Hielke Buddelmeyer

Melbourne Institute; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Melanie E. Ward-Warmedinger

European Commission; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; European Central Bank (ECB); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 2008


This empirical paper seeks to determine the relative contribution of the business cycle and structural factors to the development of part-time employment in the EU-15 countries over the 1980s and 1990s, exploiting a panel of EU countries. In the short-run, the business cycle is found to exert a short-term negative effect on part-time employment developments, which is consistent with firms utilizing part-time work to adjust their labor force to changing economic conditions. Institutions and other structural factors such as changes in legislation affecting part-time employment are found to be key drivers of the rate of part-time employment, significant in the longer run. Overall, although the role of individual factors differs in the 1980s and 1990s, a contribution analysis considering the most significant factors shows that the main structural and institutional variables generally well explain the development in the part-time employment rate in the EU countries, which is not the case in the United States.

Keywords: Part-time employment, working time organisation, the business cycle, labour supply, labour market policies, institutions, regulations

JEL Classification: J21, J22, J28, J68

Suggested Citation

Mourre, Gilles and Buddelmeyer, Hielke and Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., Why Do Europeans Work Part-Time? A Cross-Country Panel Analysis (February 2008). ECB Working Paper No. 872, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1091120

Gilles Mourre (Contact Author)

European Union - European Commission ( email )

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Hielke Buddelmeyer

Melbourne Institute ( email )

161 Barry Street
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+61383442091 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
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Melanie E. Ward-Warmedinger

European Commission ( email )

BU-1 05/190
Brussels, Bruxelles B-1049

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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