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What Women Want (Their Men to Do): Housework and Satisfaction in Australian Households

Author

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  • Foster, Gigi

    () (University of New South Wales)

  • Stratton, Leslie S.

    () (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Abstract

The time allocated to household chores is substantial, with the burden falling disproportionately upon women. Further, social norms about how much work men and women should contribute in the home are likely to influence couples' housework allocation decisions and evaluations of their lot. Using Australian data, we employ a two-stage estimation procedure to examine how deviations from housework norms relate to couples' satisfaction. In stage one, we model housework time to identify predicted (i.e., socially expected) and residual components. In support of this bifurcation, the residual housework time measures are strongly related to each partner's perceived fairness of the division of household tasks. In stage two, we predict satisfaction based on predicted and residual housework time. We find that women's satisfaction, but not men's, is robustly affected by their partners' residual housework time. When he exceeds housework norms, she is happier with housework allocations, but less happy in broader dimensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Foster, Gigi & Stratton, Leslie S., 2017. "What Women Want (Their Men to Do): Housework and Satisfaction in Australian Households," IZA Discussion Papers 10832, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10832
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Foster, Gigi & Stratton, Leslie S., 2018. "Does Female Breadwinning Make Partnerships Less Healthy or Less Stable?," IZA Discussion Papers 11938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2019. "Gender division of household labor: How does culture operate?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 373, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    satisfaction; social norms; housework;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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