IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/13000.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Total Work, Gender and Social Norms

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Burda
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Philippe Weil

Abstract

Using time-diary data from 25 countries, we demonstrate that there is a negative relationship between real GDP per capita and the female-male difference in total work time per day -- the sum of work for pay and work at home. In rich northern countries on four continents, including the United States, there is no difference -- men and women do the same amount of total work. This latter fact has been presented before by several sociologists for a few rich countries; but our survey results show that labor economists, macroeconomists, the general public and sociologists are unaware of it and instead believe that women perform more total work. The facts do not arise from gender differences in the price of time (as measured by market wages), as women's total work is further below men's where their relative wages are lower. Additional tests using U.S. and German data show that they do not arise from differences in marital bargaining, as gender equality is not associated with marital status; nor do they stem from family norms, since most of the variance in the gender total work difference is due to within-couple differences. We offer a theory of social norms to explain the facts. The social-norm explanation is better able to account for within-education group and within-region gender differences in total work being smaller than inter-group differences. It is consistent with evidence using the World Values Surveys that female total work is relatively greater than men's where both men and women believe that scarce jobs should be offered to men first.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Burda & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Philippe Weil, 2007. "Total Work, Gender and Social Norms," NBER Working Papers 13000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13000 Note: EFG LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13000.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2007. "Time to Eat: Household Production under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), pages 852-863.
    2. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2007. "AJAE Appendix: Time to Eat: Household Production Under Increasing Income Inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(4), November.
    3. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    4. Luisella Goldschmidt-Clermont and Elisabetta Pagnossin-Aligisakis, 1995. "Measures of Unrecorded Economic Activities in Fourteen Countries," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1995-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    5. Dan Devroye & Richard B. Freeman, 2001. "Does Inequality in Skills Explain Inequality in Earnings Across Advanced Countries?," NBER Working Papers 8140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2000. "Changing Times: Work and Leisure in Postindustrial Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287872.
    7. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    8. Burda, Michael C. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Weil, Philippe, 2006. "The Distribution of Total Work in the EU and US," IZA Discussion Papers 2270, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2009. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1541-1591.
    10. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
    11. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1987. "A Disaggregated Analysis of the Allocation of Time within the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 223-249, April.
    12. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
    13. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1990. "Sleep and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 922-943, October.
    14. L. Rachel Ngai & Christopher A. Pissarides, 2008. "Trends in Hours and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 239-256, April.
    15. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 969-1006.
    16. George A. Akerlof, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of which Unemployment may be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-775.
    17. Haddad, Lawrence & Brown, Lynn R. & Richter, Andrea & Smith, Lisa, 1995. "The gender dimensions of economic adjustment policies: Potential interactions and evidence to date," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 881-896, June.
    18. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
    19. Lindbeck, Assar, 1997. "Incentives and Social Norms in Household Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 370-377, May.
    20. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
    21. Gronau, Reuben, 1980. "Home Production-A Forgotten Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(3), pages 408-416, August.
    22. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
    23. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
    24. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Papers and articles using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:13000. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.