Allocation of Time within Italian Couples: Exploring the Role of Institutional Factors and their Effects on Household's Wellbeing
Italy is characterized by a very uneven distribution of paid and unpaid work in gender terms. Italy has the lowest female employment rate apart from Malta in the European region, with a tangibly wide gender gap in employment and participation rates to the disadvantage of women. Furthermore, the female labour supply is very unevenly distributed across the Italian regions, and both institutional and labour market factors may be considered as lying at the basis of the high regional heterogeneity. This paper aims at understanding more in depth the uneven allocation of time by gender in Italian households. For this purpose we propose a model on the partners' allocation of time, that takes into account the simultaneity of partners' allocation of time decisions, as well as the issue of censored observations in some partenrs' uses of time. In order to estimate this model, we use IT SILC 2007 data that provides us with information on income and hours of work as well as on other relevant sociodemographic variables, maintaining the significance at regional level. This also allows us to analyze the contribution of institutional factors (like the heterogeneous distribution of childcare services in Italy and labour market differences) and interaction with various dimensions of wellbeing. Our findings suggest that an increase in women's wages affects women's working time, both by directly increasing womens paid hours of work, and decreasing the time devoted to household activities and indirectly via a more equal distribution of unpaid work within the couple. The presence of children in the household tends to reduce women's paid work, while having a positive effect on the time spent by the husband in paid work and on both partners supply of unpaid work. We also note that the availability of childcare services represents the most relevant factor affecting women's participatory decisions as well as their hours of paid work.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2011|
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