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Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor

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  • Matthew J. Baker

    ()
    (United States Naval Academy)

  • Joyce P. Jacobsen

    ()
    (Wesleyan University)

Abstract

A customary gender division of labor is one in which women and men are directed towards certain tasks and/or explicitly prohibited from performing others. We offer an explanation as to why the gender division of labor is so often enforced by custom, and why customary gender divisions of labor generally involve both direction and prohibition. Our model builds on the literature on the marital hold-up problem, and considers both problems in choice of specialty and human capital acquisition in a framework in which agents learn a variety of skills and must search for a marriage partner on the marriage market. We show that wasteful behavior may emerge due to strategic incentives in career choice and human capital acquisition, and that both problems may be mitigated through the customary gender division of labor. We find, however, that a gender division of labor is not Pareto-improving; one gender is made worse off. Both the distributional effects and welfare gains to a customary gender division of labor decrease as opportunities to exchange in markets increase.

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File URL: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/RePEc/usn/wp/usnawp1.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Naval Academy Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 1.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:1

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_034, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2005. "A Human Capital-Based Theory of Post Marital Residence Rules," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2005-006, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  3. Domenico Tabasso, 2009. "With or Without You: Time Use Complementarities and Divorce Rate in the US," Economics Discussion Papers 674, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. Anne Solaz & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2013. "Intergenerational correlation of domestic work: Does gender matter?," Working Papers halshs-00853391, HAL.
  5. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2009. "Health Human Capital, Height and Wages in China," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 05-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  6. Domenico Tabasso, 2011. "With or Without You: Hazard of Divorce and Intra-household Allocation of Time," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Waka Cheung & Yew-Kwang Ng, 2011. "Gender Division of Labor and Alimony," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 17-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  8. Lundberg, Shelly, 2005. "The Division of Labor by New Parents: Does Child Gender Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 1787, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2011-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Marina Della Giusta & Nigar Hashimzade & Sarah Jewell, 2011. "Why Care? Social Norms, Relative Income and the Supply of Unpaid Care," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2011-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  11. Iyigun, Murat, 2009. "Marriage, Cohabitation and Commitment," IZA Discussion Papers 4341, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Bruze, Gustaf, 2010. "Male and Female Marriage Returns to Schooling," Working Papers 10-17, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.

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