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Sharing of tasks and lifestyle among aged couples


  • Iiris Niemi

    () (Statistics Finland, Culture, Media, Time Use)


Family is often thought of as an efficient work unit where tasks are apportioned and shared among the workers. This paper studies the sharing of domestic work in aged families. Do spouses divide tasks between them more evenly than in the middle years now that they have more time? The findings of the Finnish Time Use Survey in 1999/2000 did not support such presumptions about task sharing. The wife of a man who spends a lot of time on domestic work also does a lot of it, both in the middle years and in retirement. Same types of chores, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, home maintenance or helping another household, are done on the same days. Even in retirement, the wife does the lion’s share of domestic work, although certain evening out does happen. The lifestyle of these families is more consistent in free-time activities than in domestic work. The spouses have adopted similar hobbies both at home and outside it. Instead of pursuing their personal choice, they engage in the same hobbies as their spouse. This change begins before the retirement age, for the similarity in time use begins to show clearly already among middle-aged couples.

Suggested Citation

  • Iiris Niemi, 2009. "Sharing of tasks and lifestyle among aged couples," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 6(2), pages 286-305, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:leu:journl:2009:vol6:issue2:p286-305

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonathan Gershuny & John Robinson, 1988. "Historical changes in the household division of labor," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 537-552, November.
    2. Kay Axhausen & Andrea Zimmermann & Stefan Schönfelder & Guido Rindsfüser & Thomas Haupt, 2002. "Observing the rhythms of daily life: A six-week travel diary," Transportation, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 95-124, May.
    3. Andrew Harvey, 1993. "Guidelines for time use data collection," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 197-228, November.
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    More about this item


    Sharing domestic work; leisure activities; aged;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies


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