The concept of work-life balance and its relation to the satisfaction that individuals and groups express regarding the quality of their lives have attracted the attention of policy makers, labor economists, and others. Life satisfaction is central to the general happiness and health of a society or nation. In a new study published in Journal of Happiness Studies, examined data from 34 Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and appraised the effects of different factors on the life satisfaction of both women and men in an effort to close some of the gaps in the existing research on the topic.

In recent years, work-life balance has become a major focus in industrialized economies for both organizations and their employees. In a brief survey of the existing literature, Prof Hideo Noda points out, “Many of the existing studies on work-life balance issues have used micro-level data,” whether in terms of company size, gender, management level, stages of individuals’ career, and so forth. He adds, “Because the implementation of work-life balance policies is an international trend in many ‘developed countries,’ identifying common characteristics across developed countries using internationally comparable data has the potential to yield findings that are beneficial for many countries, rather than being limited to just a few countries.”

Accordingly, Prof Noda assembled data from the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index in an effort to develop a “macro-level” perspective on “life satisfaction elasticity,” which is a measure of changes in life satisfaction resulting from changes in efforts to improve work-life balance. Over a database representing both women and men in 34 OECD countries, Professor Noda analyzed the effects of other factors: self-reported health, long-term unemployment, and income inequality.

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