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Women's relative position and the division of household work: A study of French couples

  • Catherine Sofer


    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

  • Sayyid Salman Rizavi


    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)

This paper studies the effect of women's relative position in the labour market on the division of household work for French couples. Taking into account that household decisions are taken simultaneously, the paper provides empirical evidence that women's relative position in the labour market with reference to her partner influences the distribution of household work. We find that men's share of household work increases with his partner's better relative position in the labour market. But women's better position, relative to the average of her "type" has a less significant impact upon the distribution of household work within the household. Although the gap in household work decreases with the woman being in a better relative position, we never observe a role reversal: whatever their situation in the labour market may be, women always have in charge the largest share of household work.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number hal-00687280.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in European Journal of Social Systems, 2009, 22 (2), pp.13-26
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00687280
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  1. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Dominique Anxo & Paul Carlin, 2004. "Intra-family time allocation to housework - French evidence," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 1(1), pages 14-36, August.
  4. Hersch, Joni & Stratton, Leslie S, 1994. "Housework, Wages, and the Division of Housework Time for Employed Spouses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 120-25, May.
  5. Aronsson, Thomas & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Wikström, Magnus, 1999. "Estimating Intrahousehold Allocation in a Collective Model With Household Production," Umeå Economic Studies 495, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, December.
  7. Thomas, D., 1989. "Intra-Household Resource Allocation: An Inferential Approach," Papers 586, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  8. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  9. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  10. Michael Bittman & Paula England & Nancy Folbre & George Matheson, 2001. "When Gender Trumps Money: Bargaining and Time in Household Work," JCPR Working Papers 221, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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