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Self-Employment and the Gender Division of Labour: The Swedish Experience

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Abstract

In this study we examine time allocation between market work and domestic activities and the division of labour for a sample of gainfully employed women, focusing particularly on female self employed. Of primary interest for the present study is whether having resident children, and small children in particular, has an impact on time allocated to market work, domestic activities and the division of labour that can be differentiated between self employed and wage-employed. We use a unique data set that combines survey data with register data covering 10 000 individuals. In this study we use a subsample consisting of 2 155 married or cohabiting women of which 925 are self-employed. Our results suggest that Swedish self-employed women spend significantly more time on market work compared to female wage-employed. About 30 percent of all married/cohabiting self-employed women work on average 45 hours or more per week, the corresponding share for wage-employed being around 7 percent. The fact that this share is high among married or cohabiting self-employed women shows that the assumed gain in flexibility through self-employment is not due to a reduction of working hours. Rather, the flexibility offered by self employment manifests itself in an adaptation of when and presumably also where to work. However, it appears that female self-employed reduce the time spent on market work relatively more than wage-employed women do when they have resident small children. But on average, female self-employed with small children still devote more time to market work than corresponding wage-employed women. Our estimations also suggest that for mothers the number of children affects the time devoted to domestic and care activities differently according to employment status: One more resident child contributes to a significantly smaller increase in the time devoted to housework and care activities for married or cohabiting self-employed women compared to corresponding wage-employed women. We find also that, ceteris paribus, married/cohabitant female self employed have a higher tendency to report a more equal division of domestic tasks than married/cohabitant female wage-employed.

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  • Mångs, Andreas, 2011. "Self-Employment and the Gender Division of Labour: The Swedish Experience," CAFO Working Papers 2011:4, Linnaeus University, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:vxcafo:2011_004
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    Keywords

    Self-employment; Time allocation; Gender;

    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
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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