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Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor: evidence from Pakistan

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  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Agnes R. Quisumbing

Abstract

Using detailed data from rural Pakistan, this paper investigates whether human capital, learning-by-doing, gender, and family status affect the division of labor within households. Results suggest the presence of returns to individual specialization in all farm, non-farm, and home based activities. The intrahousehold division of labor is influenced by comparative advantage based on human capital and by long-lasting returns to learning-by-doing, but we also find evidence of a separate effect of gender and family status. Households seem to operate as hierarchies with sexually segregated spheres of activity. The head of household and his or her spouse provide most of the labor within their respective spheres of influence; other members work less. When present in the household, daughters-in-law work systematically harder than daughters of comparable age, height, and education. Other findings of interest are that there are increasing returns to scale in most household chores, that larger households work more off farm, and that better educated individuals enjoy more leisure. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2003. "Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor: evidence from Pakistan," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 36-80, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:55:y:2003:i:1:p:36-80
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    Cited by:

    1. Asadullah, Niaz & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2016. "Missing from the Market: Purdah Norm and Women's Paid Work Participation in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 10463, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Wahba, Jackline, 2006. "Child labor, urban proximity, and household composition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 374-397, April.
    3. Dil Bahadur Rahut Chhetri & Pradyot Ranjan Jena & Akhter Ali & Bhagirath Behera & Nar Bahadur Chhetri, 2015. "Rural Nonfarm Employment, Income, and Inequality: Evidence from Bhutan," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 32(2), pages 65-94, September.
    4. Mattia Romani, 2004. "The impact of extension services in times of crisis: Côte d’Ivoire (1997-2000)," Development and Comp Systems 0409053, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Reprint of development, agglomeration, and the organization of work," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 765-778.
    6. Rodriguez Takeuchi Laura, 2015. "Intra-Household Inequalities in Child Rights and Well-Being: A Barrier to Progress?," WIDER Working Paper Series 012, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Micevska, Maja B., 2007. "Rural Nonfarm Employment and Incomes in the Eastern Himalayas," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 22, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    8. Marcel Fafchamps & Bereket Kebede & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2009. "Intrahousehold Welfare in Rural Ethiopia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(4), pages 567-599, August.
    9. Sawada, Yasuyuki & Lokshin, Michael, 2009. "Obstacles to school progression in rural Pakistan: An analysis of gender and sibling rivalry using field survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 335-347, March.
    10. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2004. "Isolation and Subjective Welfare," Economics Series Working Papers 216, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Rahut, Dil Bahadur & Scharf, Maja Micevska, 2012. "Livelihood diversification strategies in the Himalayas," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 56(4), December.
    12. Fafchamps, Marcel, 2012. "Development, agglomeration, and the organization of work," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 459-472.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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