IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does "Sorting into Specialization" Explain the Differences in Time Use between Married and Cohabiting Couples? An Empirical Application for Germany


  • Katherin Barg
  • Miriam Beblo


The aim of this paper is to identify the sources of time use differences between married and cohabiting couples. We want to answer the question whether there is a "sorting into specialization" in marriage, i.e. whether cohabiting partners who intend a (traditional) division of work have a higher probability of getting married. In a non-parametric matching approach, we compare couples in the German Socio-Economic Panel who marry between 1991 and 2008 with couples who remain cohabiters. Taking the potential selection into marriage into account, differences in the intra-couple division of market work, housework and child care are reduced by up to 75 percent. We therefore conclude that couples who anticipate specialization in time use (and its economic advantages) pre-select into formal marriage. However, remaining differences in time use leave sufficient scope for an additional specialization-reinforcing effect of the institution of marriage in Germany, particularly for the subsample of couples who become parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherin Barg & Miriam Beblo, 2012. "Does "Sorting into Specialization" Explain the Differences in Time Use between Married and Cohabiting Couples? An Empirical Application for Germany," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 105-106, pages 127-152.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2012:i:105-106:p:127-152

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ciani, Emanuele, 2016. "Retirement, pension eligibility and home production," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 106-120.
    2. Melanie Schröder & Norma Burow, 2016. "Couple's Labor Supply, Taxes, and the Division of Housework in a Gender-Neutral Lab," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1593, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2012:i:105-106:p:127-152. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Laurent Linnemer). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.