Non-standard work: what’s it worth? Comparing alternative measures of workers’ marginal willingness to pay

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

October 20, 2016


We compare two alternative ways of measuring workers’ marginal willingness to pay (MWP) for four non-standard working arrangements: flexitime, part-time, night work, and rotating shifts. The first method is based on job-to-job transitions within a job search framework, while the second is based on estimating the determinants of subjective well-being. Using BHPS panel data from 1991-2008, we relate differences in the results to conceptual differences between utility and subjective wellbeing proposed recently in the happiness literature. We conclude that there is not a single representation of MWP: utility trade-offs (revealed by choices) need not be the same as wellbeing trade-offs; and we find evidence that subjective wellbeing is traded off against other goods that provide utility. Overall, we find that workers care particularly about their number of weekly hours.


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