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The Determinants of Specialization Within Marriage

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  • Shelly Lundberg
  • Elaina Rose

Abstract

For recent cohorts of American couples, the traditional division of labor between husbands and wives is strongly associated with the presence of children in the household. We define measures of specialization and market intensity in household house worked and earnings to describe the joint allocation of time and effort by married men and women. Using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we estimate the changes in the outcomes that follow the birth of a couple’s first child, and the association of these changes with parental education, factors related to divorce risk, and birth cohort. On average, specialization increases and market intensity falls, but we find evidence of considerable heterogeneity in the effects of children o household behavior, including the responses of fathers. Married couples from later birth cohorts specialize less in response to the birth of their first child, as do couples who eventually divorce. The gender of the first child has, surprisingly, a significant impact on the market intensity of the parents’ response.
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Suggested Citation

  • Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 1998. "The Determinants of Specialization Within Marriage," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0048, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:washer:0048
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," NBER Working Papers 20251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Donni, Olivier, 2014. "Over-investment in marriage-specific capital," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 34-43.
    3. Jens Bonke & Hans Uldall-Poulsen, 2007. "Why do families actually pool their income? Evidence from Denmark," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 113-128, June.
    4. Hani Mansour & Terra McKinnish, 2014. "Couples’ time together: complementarities in production versus complementarities in consumption," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 1127-1144, October.
    5. GholamReza Haddad, 2015. "Gender ratio, divorce rate, and intra-household collective decision process: evidence from iranian urban households labor supply with non-participation," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1365-1394, June.
    6. Bargain, Olivier & González, Libertad & Keane, Claire & Özcan, Berkay, 2012. "Female labor supply and divorce: New evidence from Ireland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1675-1691.
    7. Shelly J. Lundberg & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2000. "Saving for Retirement: Household Bargaining and Household Net Worth," Working Papers wp004, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 2002. "The Effects Of Sons And Daughters On Men'S Labor Supply And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 251-268, May.
    9. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2014. "Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 10047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Leslie Stratton, 2010. "Examining the impact of alternative power measures on individual time use in American and Danish couple households," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 325-343, September.
    11. Eugenio Giolito, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," Labor and Demography 0402007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska, 2015. "She Cares and He Earns? The Family Gap in Poland," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 42.
    13. Libertad González & Berkay Özcan, 2013. "The Risk of Divorce and Household Saving Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 404-434.
    14. Wang, Chao & Sweetman, Arthur, 2013. "Gender, family status and physician labour supply," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 17-25.
    15. Laura Giuliano, 2007. "The Demand for Sons or the Demand for Fathers? Understanding the Effects of Child Gender on Divorce Rates," Working Papers 0724, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    16. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Leslie S Stratton, 2008. "Institutions, Social Norms, and Bargaining Power: An Analysis of Individual Leisure Time in Couple Households," Working Papers 0806, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.
    17. Mary C. Still, 2006. "The opt-out revolution in the United States: implications for modern organizations," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2-3), pages 159-171.
    18. Daniela Vuri, 2016. "Joint custody laws and mother's welfare: Evidence from the US," CEIS Research Paper 380, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 27 May 2016.
    19. Anne Solaz, 2005. "Division of Domestic Work: Is There Adjustment Between Partners when One is Unemployed?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 387-413, December.
    20. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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