There are serious questions about the viability of economic growth for achieving development goals aimed at improving social and environmental outcomes. Research suggests that structural change away from the growth model is needed to reduce climate-change-causing emissions, decrease the overconsumption of environmental resources, and address inequalities in human well-being. An alternative approach is working-time reduction. Proponents present it as a multi-dividend sustainable-development policy that can improve both environmental and social outcomes. We test this proposition using two indicators, carbon intensity of well-being (CIWB) and ecological intensity of well-being (EIWB). We estimate longitudinal regression models with data from 34 high-income OECD countries from 1970 to 2019. We find that longer working hours are positively associated with higher CIWB and EIWB, suggesting that shorter working hours would decrease CIWB and EIWB, a desirable outcome in terms of sustainability. These results provide direct support for the idea that working-time reduction could improve both social and environmental outcomes simultaneously. These results have important practical and theoretical implications.

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