Working-hour Trends in the Nordic Countries: Convergence or Divergence?

Keywords: Work/Life Balance, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners


In this article, we investigate changes in usual working hours and part-time work in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden in recent decades. We analyze whether convergence or divergence occurred between countries, between men and women, and between men and women in each country. We use annual data from the European Labor Force Survey to identify trends between 1996 and 2016 (N = 730,133), while controlling for a set of structural factors. The findings suggest a degree of divergence between countries: usual working hours and the incidence of part-time work were relatively stable in Finland and Sweden, while working hours decreased in Denmark and Norway. The latter is partly driven by a decline among the 15–29 age group. The gender gap in working hours and part-time work was closed somewhat, in particular due to a rise in part-time work among men and a decline among women in Norway and Sweden.

Author Biographies

Aart-Jan Riekhoff, Finnish Centre for Pensions


Senior Researcher

Oxana Krutova, Tampere University

Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences

Jouko Nätti, Tampere University


Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

How to Cite
Riekhoff, A.-J., Krutova, O., & Nätti, J. (2019). Working-hour Trends in the Nordic Countries: Convergence or Divergence?. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 9(3).