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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