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To my Wife, with Love! Does Within-household Specialisation Explain Husbands' Better Job-education-match?

Married male workers are found to have a lower incidence of overeducation. A theoretical explanation for this phenomenon is lacking. We test in our study whether the traditional specialisation of spouses’ time between home and market production tends to improve a husband’s jobeducation- match (JEM). We test this hypothesis first by drawing on the method used in the marriage wage premia literature based mainly on the model of Becker (1985). In addition, we perform a new test following the theory of François (1998), which requires less restrictive assumptions. Overall, our results show that within-household specialisation (WHS) explains a substantial part of the superior JEM of husbands, regardless of whether a wife’s labour market participation (experience) or both spouses housework hours are used to measure specialisation. The results and in particular the independent and significant impact of women’s housework hours on their husbands’ JEM, however, speak clearly in favour of François’ theory and against the explanation of Becker. Testing for an endogeneity bias due to a possible sorting process of more able husbands with “traditional” spouses or a measurement error of the JEM does not alter these conclusions.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 04-93.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:04-93
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  1. P. J. Sloane & H. Battu & P. T. Seaman, 1996. "Overeducation and the formal education/experience and training trade-off," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(8), pages 511-515.
  2. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  3. McGoldrick, KimMarie & Robst, John, 1996. "Gender Differences in Overeducation: A Test of the Theory of Differential Overqualification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 280-84, May.
  4. Frank, Robert H, 1978. "Why Women Earn Less: The Theory and Estimation of Differential Overqualification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 360-73, June.
  5. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household Specialization and the Male Marriage Wage Premium," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  6. Francis Green & Steven McIntosh, 2007. "Is there a genuine under-utilization of skills amongst the over-qualified?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 427-439.
  7. 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.
  8. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1990. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 237-42, February.
  9. Peter Dolton & Mary Silles, 2001. "Over education in the graduate labour market: some evidence from alumni data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19546, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Büchel, Felix & Battu, Harminder, 2002. "The Theory of Differential Overqualification: Does it Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 511, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Bauer, Thomas K., 2002. "Educational mismatch and wages: a panel analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 221-229, June.
  12. Aniela Wirz & Erdal Atukeren, 2004. "Overeducation in the Swiss Labour Market: Does Anything Go Wrong?," KOF Working papers 04-85, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  13. Francois, Patrick, 1998. "Gender discrimination without gender difference: theory and policy responses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-32, April.
  14. Arnaud Chevalier, 2003. "Measuring Over-education," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(279), pages 509-531, 08.
  15. Bonke, Jens & Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2003. "Timing and Flexibility of Housework and Men and Women's Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Alfonso Sousa-Poza & Hans Schmid & Rolf Widmer, 2001. "The allocation and value of time assigned to housework and child-care: An analysis for Switzerland," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 599-618.
  17. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
  18. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
  19. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
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