Sweating workers in Asia

A new article is available at the publisher’s website. “Working Overtime in East Asia: Convergence or Divergence?” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1144778) is authored by Ming-Chang Tsai, Michio Nitta, Sang-Wook Kim and Weidong Wang.

The authors are, respectively, from: Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Department of Business, Kokushikan University, Tokyo, Japan, Department of Sociology, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea, Department of Sociology, Renmin University, Beijing, China.

The authors observe that working long hours has become a routinised part of life in East Asia but that the patterns of this vary across the region.

Work

The abstract states:

This study represents a first systematic attempt to analyse overtime and its determinants in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China by testing hypotheses that specify the distinctive influences of employment status and job contracts on work hours. Class exploitation, post-industrialism and flexibility theories are mobilised to identify distinctive but supplementary factors in long working hours. Using data from a recent four-country survey, a Tobit regression analysis of full-time workers’ hours reveals that employers and self-employed people work longer hours than hired workers across this region. Despite this convergence, there is a contrast across occupations. In Japan, overtime is positively associated with occupational prestige, while a reverse pattern operates in China, where low-skilled workers work more overtime. Contract workers in the private sector in South Korea and China also have longer overtime when compared to public sector employees. In sum, this study highlights more divergence than convergence of working conditions within East Asia.

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