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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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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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Bernarda Zamora, 2007. "Does Female Participation Affect The Sharing Rule?," Working Papers. Serie AD, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) 2007-07, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  3. Magali Recoules, 2011. "How can gender discrimination explain fertility behaviors and family-friendly policies?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 505-521, December.
  4. María Suárez, 2013. "Working mothers’ decisions on childcare: the case of Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 545-561, December.
  5. Leilanie Basilio, 2009. "Deciding Who Works Where – An Analysis of the Distribution of Work within Native and Immigrant Families in Australia," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0125, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2009. "The Timing of Work and Work-Family Conflicts in Spain: Who Has a Split Work Schedule and Why?," IZA Discussion Papers 4542, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Begoña Álvarez & Daniel Miles, 2009. "Building gender roles: Do children learn from their parents?," Working Papers, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada 0906, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  10. Bruce Sacerdote & James Feyrer, 2008. "Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility Within Developed Nations," NBER Working Papers 14114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Cristina Borra, 2010. "Childcare cost and Spanish mother’s labour force participation," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, IEF, vol. 194(3), pages 9-40, October.
  12. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert, 2007. "The American Family and Family Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 2715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Maria Gutiérrez-Domènech, 2010. "Parental employment and time with children in Spain," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 371-391, September.

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