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Time Use and Life Satisfaction within Couples: A Gender Analysis for Belgium

Author

Listed:
  • Bram De Rock
  • Guillaume Perilleux

Abstract

This study looks at the time allocations of individuals with a focus on paid and unpaid work, its division within the households, as well as its link with life satisfaction. The analysis is performed for Belgium in 2016 using the MEqIn database, a database containing information on both partners in the household. Time use by men and women appears to be quite different. Men are found to be more active in the paid activities and women in the unpaid ones. The link between time use and life satisfaction appears to be different for each gender as well. As in previous tudies, women are found to be happier when working part-time. However, the usual conclusion that they follow traditional gender norm is challenged as it appears that this result remains only when they also undertake the majority of the unpaid work. This supports the idea that women active on the paid labor market suffer from a double burden. We then look at the within household interdependencies in the time allocations and at the link these can have with the subjective well-being of both men and women. Doing so, it appears that men’s behavior can be related to the gender-identity hypothesis, and more precisely to its bread-winner version, while women’s behavior is closer to a egalitarian vision of the division of work. We further observe that those behaviors are softened by the presence of children.

Suggested Citation

  • Bram De Rock & Guillaume Perilleux, 2021. "Time Use and Life Satisfaction within Couples: A Gender Analysis for Belgium," Working Papers ECARES 2021-01, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/316756
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