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Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor

  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Quisumbing, Agnes R.

Using detailed data from rural Pakistan, this paper investigates whether human capital, learning by doing, gender, and one's status within the family affect the division of labor within households. Results suggest the presence of returns to individual specialization in all farm, nonfarm, 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, build, 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.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 73.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:73
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  1. Khandker, Shahidur R, 1988. "Determinants of Women's Time Allocation in Rural Bangladesh," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 111-26, October.
  2. Nargis Sultana & Hina Nazli & Sohail J. Malik, 1994. "Determinants of Female Time Allocation in Selected Districts of Rural Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1141-1153.
  3. Strauss, John & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Human resources: Empirical modeling of household and family decisions," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 1883-2023 Elsevier.
  4. Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1993. "Labor market opportunities and intrafamily time allocation in rural households in South Asia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 277-310, April.
  5. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
  6. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
  7. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1987. "A Disaggregated Analysis of the Allocation of Time within the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 223-49, April.
  8. Singh, Inderjit & Squire, Lyn & Strauss, John, 1986. "A Survey of Agricultural Household Models: Recent Findings and Policy Implications," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(1), pages 149-79, September.
  9. Khandker, Shahidur R, 1987. "Labor Market Participation of Married Women in Bangladesh," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 536-41, August.
  10. Katz, Elizabeth G., 1995. "Gender and trade within the household: Observations from rural guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 327-342, February.
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