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

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  • Katherin Barg
  • Miriam Beblo

Abstract

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.

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  • 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
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    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.

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