ISER Working Paper Series 2016-12
Non-standard work: what’s it worth? Comparing alternative measures of workers’ marginal willingness to pay
20 Oct 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.