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Social Norms and Household Time Allocation

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  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
  • Cristina Fernandez

Abstract

Economic theories of the household predict that increases in female relative human capital lead to decreases in female housework time. However, longitudinal and cross-sectional evidence seems to contradict this implication. Women`s share of home time fails to decrease despite increases in women`s relative earnings. The literature has proposed social norms on the household division of labor as an alternative explanation. We use the 2002-03 Spanish Time Use Survey (STUS) to explore the presence of social norms associated to the household division of housework and childcare. First, we observe that wives that earn more than their husbands still undertake more than 50% of housework and childcare. Second, we find that a woman`s relative share of housework decreases as her relative earnings increase, but only up to the point when she earns the same as her husband. Finally, independently of the definition of childcare, the relative time devoted to childcare does not vary with spouses` relative earnings. All these findings suggest that social norms might be an important factor in the division of household time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 291.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:291

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Keywords: Household Division of Labor; Childcare; Social Norms;

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  1. Begoña Álvarez & Daniel Miles, 2003. "Gender effect on housework allocation: Evidence from Spanish two-earner couples," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 227-242, 05.
  2. Angel de la Fuente & Juan Francisco Jimeno, 2008. "The private and fiscal returns to schooling and the effect of public policies on private incentives to invest in education: a general framework and some results for the EU," Working Papers 342, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  5. Shelly Lundberg & Robert Pollak, 2003. "Efficiency in Marriage," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 153-167, September.
  6. Rasul, Imran, 2008. "Household bargaining over fertility: Theory and evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 215-241, June.
  7. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  8. Michael Bittman & Paula England & Nancy Folbre & George Matheson, 2001. "When Gender Trumps Money: Bargaining and Time in Household Work," JCPR Working Papers 221, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Juster, F. Thomas & Stafford, Frank P., 1990. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioural Models, and Problems of Measurement," Working Paper Series 258, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  10. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household specialization and the male marriage wage premium," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  11. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
  12. Bonke, Jens & Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2003. "Timing and Flexibility of Housework and Men and Women's Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Suzanne Bianchi, 2000. "Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity?," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 401-414, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote & Ariel Dora Stern, 2008. "Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility within Developed Nations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  2. Begoña Álvarez & Daniel Miles, 2009. "Building gender roles: Do children learn from their parents?," Working Papers 0906, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  3. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara de la Rica, 2009. "The timing of work and work-family conflicts in Spain sho has a split work schedule and why?," Working Papers 2009-35, FEDEA.
  4. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2007. "The American Family and Family Economics," NBER Working Papers 12908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Does Housework Lower Wages and Why? Evidence for Britain," Economics Series Working Papers 331, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech, 2010. "Parental employment and time with children in Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 371-391, September.
  7. Magali Recoules, 2011. "How can gender discrimination explain fertility behaviors and family-friendly policies?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 505-521, December.
  8. María Suárez, 2013. "Working mothers’ decisions on childcare: the case of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 545-561, December.
  9. Boll, Christina & Leppin, Julian Sebastian & Reich, Nora, 2011. "Einfluss der Elternzeit von Vätern auf die familiale Arbeitsteilung im internationalen Vergleich," HWWI Policy Papers 59, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  10. Bernarda Zamora, 2011. "Does female participation affect the sharing rule?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 47-83, January.
  11. Leilanie Basilio, 2009. "Deciding Who Works Where – An Analysis of the Distribution of Work within Native and Immigrant Families in Australia," Ruhr Economic Papers 0125, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. Magali Recoules, 2011. "How can gender discrimination explain fertility behaviors and family-friendly policies?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00675601, HAL.
  13. Cristina Borra, 2010. "Childcare cost and Spanish mother’s labour force participation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 194(3), pages 9-40, October.

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