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

Author

Listed:
  • 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10832
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Takashi Oshio & Kayo Nozaki & Miki Kobayashi, 2013. "Division of Household Labor and Marital Satisfaction in China, Japan, and Korea," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 211-223, June.
    2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    3. Gigi Foster & Charlene M. Kalenkoski, 2013. "Tobit or OLS? An empirical evaluation under different diary window lengths," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(20), pages 2994-3010, July.
    4. AlisonL. Booth & JanC. vanOurs, 2008. "Job Satisfaction and Family Happiness: The Part-Time Work Puzzle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(526), pages 77-99, February.
    5. Zafar, Basit, 2011. "An experimental investigation of why individuals conform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 774-798, August.
    6. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    7. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social norms; satisfaction; 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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