Work-time reduction for sustainable lifestyles

Authored by: Jörgen Larsson , Jonas Nässén , Erik Lundberg

Routledge Handbook of Global Sustainability Governance

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138048287
eBook ISBN: 9781315170237
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter critically analyses the potential and limits of work-time reduction as a form of sustainability governance. A review of previous research shows that reduced working hours can be expected to slow down economic activity and thereby contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Reduction of working hours may also have different types of effects on quality of life. Positive effects include more leisure time, reduced time pressure, and reduced unemployment. Possibly negative effects include reduced private consumption and lower tax revenues for welfare services. The chapter also discusses different policy options for work-time reduction and presents new results from an extended part-time right reform that has been implemented for all employees in the City of Gothenburg, Sweden. Individual rights to work part-time as opposed to collective reforms give the advantage that individuals can themselves prioritise between time and money, and on the societal level it can contribute to destabilising the norm of a 40-hour working week.

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