Underwork, Overwork and the Health of Men and Women in the United States

Youngjoo Cha, Indiana University

This study examines the health implications of one important trend introduced by the economic, institutional, and demographic shifts in the U.S. labor market: the polarization of work hours. While prior research has shown negative effects of employment and work hours on various health outcomes, the gender-specific processes associated with this trend are largely underexplored. Using data drawn from the 2004 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation matched with occupational-level data drawn from O*NET 15.0, I estimate the effect of unemployment, part-time, and long hours (50 hours or more per week) on women’s and men’s subsequent self-reported emotional and general health. The results show that unemployment and part-time hours negatively affect men’s health more than women’s, while overwork affects women’s health more negatively than men’s. The subsequent analyses explore the sources of these gender-specific patterns associated with the gendered aspects of the organization of work and family.

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Presented in Session 184: Gender Health Disparities