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Gender, Time Use, and Public Policy over the Life Cycle

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  • Patricia Apps
  • Ray Rees

Abstract

In this paper we compare gender differences in the allocation of time to market work, domestic work, child care, and leisure over the life cycle. Time-use profiles for these activity categories are constructed on survey data for three countries: Australia, the UK, and Germany. We discuss the extent to which gender differences and life-cycle variation in time use can be explained by public policy, focusing on the tax treatment of the female partner and on access to high-quality, affordable child care. Profiles of time use, earnings, and taxes are compared over the life cycle defined on age as well as on phases that represent the key transitions in the life cycle of a typical household. Our contention is that, given the decision to have children, life-cycle time use and consumption decisions of households are determined by them and by public policy. Before children arrive, the adult members of the household have high labour supplies and plenty of leisure. The presence of pre-school children, in combination with the tax treatment of the second earner's income and the cost of bought-in child care, dramatically change the pattern of time use, leading to large falls in female labour supply. We also highlight the fact that, in the three countries we study, female labour supply exhibits a very high degree of heterogeneity after the arrival of children, and we show that this has important implications for public policy. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2005. "Gender, Time Use, and Public Policy over the Life Cycle," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 439-461, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:21:y:2005:i:3:p:439-461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
    2. Patricia Apps, 2002. "Why an Earned income tax credit program is a mistake for Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 5(4), pages 549-568, December.
    3. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80.
    4. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The Life-Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    5. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
    6. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Female Labour Force Participation: Past Trends and Main Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 376, OECD Publishing.
    7. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2001. "Household Saving and Full Consumpyion Over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 428, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    8. John Pencavel, 1998. "The Market Work Behavior and Wages of Women: 1975-94," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 771-804.
    9. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-1552, September.
    10. Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    11. Dolores Ferrero Martínez & Amaia Iza, 2004. "Skill premium effects on fertility and female labor force supply," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 1-16, February.
    12. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2001. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 1999. "On the taxation of trade within and between households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 241-263, August.
    14. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    15. Tomas Kögel, 2004. "Did the association between fertility and female employment within OECD countries really change its sign?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(1), pages 45-65, February.
    16. Kathryn Shaw, 1994. "The Persistence of Female Labor Supply: Empirical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 348-378.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2007. "Modelling the employment and wage outcomes of spouses: is she outearning him?," Post-Print hal-01053593, HAL.
    2. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2015. "Health status and the allocation of time: Cross-country evidence from Europe," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 188-203.
    3. Elena G. F. Stancanelli, 2006. "Les couples sur le marché de l'emploi. Une analyse exploratoire des années récentes," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 99(4), pages 235-272.
    4. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "Population Ageing, Taxation, pensions and Health Costs," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 10(2), pages 79-97, June.
    5. World Bank, 2007. "Chile - County Gender Assessment : Expanding Women's Work Choices to Enhance Chile's Economic Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7639, The World Bank.
    6. Christian Schmitt, 2012. "Labour market integration, occupational uncertainty, and fertility choices in Germany and the UK," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(12), pages 253-292, April.
    7. Anzelika Zaiceva & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "Children, Kitchen, Church: does ethnicity matter?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 83-103, March.
    8. repec:eee:joecag:v:5:y:2015:i:c:p:33-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alexander Bick, 2010. "The Quantitative Role of Child Care for Fertility and Female Labor Force Participation," 2010 Meeting Papers 892, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0572-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Anzelika Zaiceva & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2010. "Do Ethnic Minorities "Stretch" Their Time?: Evidence from the UK Time Use Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 999, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. José Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal & José Alberto Molina & Raquel Ortega, 2010. "Unemployment and Time Use: Evidence from the Spanish Time Use Survey," Documentos de Trabajo dt2010-02, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
    13. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2008. "Modelling employment and wage outcomes of spouses: is she outearning him?," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-01, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    14. Raúl Ramos & Esteban Sanromá & Hipólito Simón, 2014. "Public-Private Sector Wage Differentials by Type of Contract: Evidence from Spain," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 107-141, March.
    15. Juan Carlos, Campaña & J. Ignacio, Giménez-Nadal & Jose Alberto, Molina, 2017. "Self-employment and educational childcare time: Evidence from Latin America," MPRA Paper 77360, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:spr:empeco:v:52:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1100-x is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Elena Stancanelli, 2007. "Marriage and Work: an analysis for French couples in the last decade," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-10, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    18. Bick, Alexander, 2010. "The quantitative role of child care for female labor force participation and fertility," MPRA Paper 25474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Patricia Apps, 2007. "Taxation And Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 560, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    20. Agénor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2014. "On gender and growth: The role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 132-147.
    21. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "Household Models: An Historical Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 2172, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Patricia Apps, 2006. "The New Discrimination and Childcare," CEPR Discussion Papers 541, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    23. Anzelika Zaiceva & Klaus Zimmermann, 2011. "Do ethnic minorities “stretch” their time? UK household evidence on multitasking," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 181-206, June.
    24. Bick, Alexander, 2011. "The quantitative role of child care for female labor force participation and fertility," MPRA Paper 31713, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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