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Work less, do less? : Working time reductions and rebound effects

  • A reduction in working hours is being considered to tackle issues associated with ecological sustainability, social equity and enhanced life satisfaction - a so-called triple dividend. With respect to an environmental dividend, the authors analyse the time use rebound effects of reducing working time. They explore how an increase in leisure time triggers a rearrangement of time and expenditure budgets, and thus the use of resources in private households. Does it hold true that time-intensive activities replace resource-intensive consumption when people have more discretionary time at their disposal? This study on environmental issues is complemented by introducing the parameters of voluntary social engagement and individual lifeA reduction in working hours is being considered to tackle issues associated with ecological sustainability, social equity and enhanced life satisfaction - a so-called triple dividend. With respect to an environmental dividend, the authors analyse the time use rebound effects of reducing working time. They explore how an increase in leisure time triggers a rearrangement of time and expenditure budgets, and thus the use of resources in private households. Does it hold true that time-intensive activities replace resource-intensive consumption when people have more discretionary time at their disposal? This study on environmental issues is complemented by introducing the parameters of voluntary social engagement and individual life satisfaction as potential co-benefits of rebound effects. In order to analyse the first dividend, a mixed methods approach is adopted, enabling two models of time use rebound effects to be applied. First, semi-standardised interviews reveal that environmentally ambiguous substitutions of activities occur following a reduction in working hours. Second, estimates for Germany from national surveys on time use and expenditure show composition effects of gains in leisure time and income loss. For the latter, we estimate the marginal propensity to consume and the marginal propensity to time use. The results show that time savings due to a reduction in working time trigger relevant rebound effects in terms of resource use. However, both the qualitative and quantitative findings put the rebound effects following a reduction in working time into perspective. Time use rebound effects lead to increased voluntary social engagement and greater life satisfaction, the second and third dividends.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Johannes Buhl, José Acosta Fernandez
Year of Publication:2016
Language:English
Source Title (English):Sustainability science
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-015-0322-8
Volume:11
Issue:2
First Page:261
Last Page:276
Nachhaltiges Produzieren und Konsumieren
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Sozialwissenschaften