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Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates

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  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz

Abstract

This paper explains the existing cross-country differences in household formation rates in industrialized countries by highlighting how an individual`s probability to form a household may be affected by social norms toward the household division of labor. Because social norms are to a large extent enforced through non-market interactions they are difficult to isolate empirically. Two identification strategies are proposed. First, a diff-in-diff like approach is used for the identification of the effect of social norms net of other country-specific and time varying factors. A second identification strategy uses an individual`s reported attitudes toward the household division of labor to allow for the identification of the effect of social norms net of individual preferences. Empirical results support the predictions of a household formation model where less egalitarian social norms decrease the supply of men in the household market by increasing a man`s cost of providing household labor. Both men and women living in more egalitarian countries have, everything else equal, a higher probability of forming a household. Furthermore, consistent with the theory, individual attitudes run opposite to social norms for the case of women. Whereas ceteris paribus a more egalitarian woman has a lower probability of forming a household, a woman living in a more egalitarian country has, everthing else equal, a higher probability of forming a household.

Suggested Citation

  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, 2007. "Division of Household Labor and Cross-Country Differences in Household Formation Rates," Economics Series Working Papers 325, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:325
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper325.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote & Ariel Dora Stern, 2008. "Will the Stork Return to Europe and Japan? Understanding Fertility within Developed Nations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    2. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto & Sevilla, Almudena, 2007. "Household Division of Labor, Partnerships and Children: Evidence from Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2884, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2008. "Does community property discourage unpartnered births?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-40, March.
    5. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household formation; Marriage markets; Division of household labor; Household specialization; Social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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