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Reducing Working Hours as a Means to Foster Low(er)-Carbon Lifestyles? An Exploratory Study on Swiss Employees

Centre for Development and Environment CDE, University of Bern; 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072024
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 5 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Innovation—Strategic Steps toward Deep Transition)
In the ongoing discussions on the transition to low-carbon systems a reduction of working hours has gained increased interest. A shift to lower incomes coupled with more discretionary time might promote low(er) individual carbon lifestyles without impairing individual well-being. Lower carbon emissions have been linked to shorter working hours on a macroeconomic level and to lower income, and thus less carbon-intensive activities on an individual level. However, little empirical research has been done on the effects of a self-determined reduction of working time on an intra-individual level. The aim of this paper was to explore whether and how a reduction of working hours facilitates low(er)-carbon lifestyles. We do this by means of 17 qualitative guideline interviews with Swiss employees that had recently reduced their working hours. Our results suggest that the underlying motives behind the employees’ decisions to reduce their working hours are crucial. A beneficial climate-saving effect arose only for those employees who dedicated their newly gained time to binding activities, that require a certain degree of commitment, such as parenting and further education. In contrast, those who reduced their working hours due to a desire for more recreational time risked increasing the carbon intensity of their lifestyles due to carbon-intensive leisure activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-carbon lifestyles; working time reduction; part-time work; income; discretionary time low-carbon lifestyles; working time reduction; part-time work; income; discretionary time
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hanbury, H.; Bader, C.; Moser, S. Reducing Working Hours as a Means to Foster Low(er)-Carbon Lifestyles? An Exploratory Study on Swiss Employees. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2024. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072024

AMA Style

Hanbury H, Bader C, Moser S. Reducing Working Hours as a Means to Foster Low(er)-Carbon Lifestyles? An Exploratory Study on Swiss Employees. Sustainability. 2019; 11(7):2024. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072024

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hanbury, Hugo; Bader, Christoph; Moser, Stephanie. 2019. "Reducing Working Hours as a Means to Foster Low(er)-Carbon Lifestyles? An Exploratory Study on Swiss Employees" Sustainability 11, no. 7: 2024. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072024

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