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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.

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File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/research/papers/2011/1711genderdivisioncheungng.pdf
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Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 17-11.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2011-17
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9905-2493
Fax: +61-3-9905-5476
Web page: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/eco/
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  1. Matthew J. Baker & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2005. "Marriage, Specialization, and the Gender Division of Labor," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2005-001, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
  6. 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 120-25, May.
  7. repec:ese:iserwp:2005-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. 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).
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