IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender Division of Labor and Alimony


  • Waka Cheung
  • Yew-Kwang Ng


According to the principle of comparative advantage, the gender division of labor is utility enhancing during marriage. However, in the long term it decreases the earning power of the party who specializes in housework. Once the marriage is dissolved she/he will be the losing party and hence should be compensated by the other party, who specializes in paid work which usually involves higher degree in the accumulation of human capital. As an effective means of compensation, it is shown formally that alimony may promote the gender division of labor and improve Pareto efficiency. The rule of remarriage termination of alimony is doubly inefficient by reducing gender division of labor and by discouraging efficient remarriages.

Suggested Citation

  • Waka Cheung & Yew-Kwang Ng, 2011. "Gender Division of Labor and Alimony," Monash Economics Working Papers 17-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2007. "Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 763-793.
    2. Kai A. Konrad & Kjell Erik Lommerud, 2000. "The bargaining family revisited," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 471-487, May.
    3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Crossley, Thomas F., 2004. "Revisiting the family investment hypothesis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 373-393, June.
    4. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
    5. Hersch, Joni & Stratton, Leslie S, 1994. "Housework, Wages, and the Division of Housework Time for Employed Spouses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 120-125, May.
    6. Bardasi, Elena & Taylor, Mark P., 2005. "Marriage and wages," ISER Working Paper Series 2005-01, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1999. "Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor," FCND discussion papers 73, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Hadfield, Gillian K., 1999. "A coordination model of the sexual division of labor," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 125-153, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Gender; division of labor; alimony; spousal support; marriage; specialization.;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Simon Angus). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.