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Gender and the Division of Household Labor in Older Couples: A European Perspective


  • Karsten Hank


  • Hendrik Jürges

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))


Using micro-data from the 2004 ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ (SHARE), this study investigates the division of household labor in older couples (aged 50+) in a cross-national perspective. Across ten continental European countries, we find considerable variation in the overall distribution of housework between partners. One may roughly distinguish between more egalitarian countries in northern Europe and more traditional countries in the southern parts of Europe. A multivariate analysis shows that the observed spatial pattern is neither due to differences in population composition, nor due to country-specific effects of individual characteristics. We do find a significant effect of macro-level gender inequalities on couples’ division of housework, though. In addition, our analysis suggests the presence of relevant further, though unobserved contextual effects. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Karsten Hank & Hendrik Jürges, 2005. "Gender and the Division of Household Labor in Older Couples: A European Perspective," MEA discussion paper series 05076, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:05076

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marcel Erlinghagen & Karsten Hank, 2005. "Participation of Older Europeans in Volunteer Work," MEA discussion paper series 05071, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    2. Agar Brugiavini & Tullio Jappelli & Guglielmo Weber, 2002. "The Survey on Health, Aging and Wealth," CSEF Working Papers 86, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rios, Ana R. & Masters, William A. & Shively, Gerald E., 2008. "Linkages between Market Participation and Productivity: Results from a Multi-Country Farm Household Sample," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6145, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

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