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Deciding Who Works Where – An Analysis of the Distribution of Work within Native and Immigrant Families in Australia

  • Leilanie Basilio

    ()

The paper examines whether there is an asymmetry in the distribution of market work and domestic work within families in Australia, and to what extent differences in earnings capacities of spouses can account for the division of labor. Using a Blinder-Oaxaca Tobit-type decomposition, we find that the difference in earnings capacities of Australian couples could explain about 30 and 20 percent of the observed disparities in spousal time allocation in market and domestic work, respectively. Most of the work gaps, however, appear to be accounted for by the differences in labor supply behaviors of partners rather than by the differences in earnings capacities.We further observe that the differences in wages are more relevant for immigrant families originating from non-English speaking countries.Convergence of gender wages would produce the greatest reduction in spousal specialization for this particular group.Given that immigrant women from non-English speaking background have high levels of formal qualifications, our results could assert the significance of improving the returns to human capital attributes of these immigrant women in reducing the imbalance in spousal work distribution.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0125.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0125
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  1. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
  2. T. Paul Schultz, 1990. "Testing the Neoclassical Model of Family Labor Supply and Fertility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 599-634.
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  6. Bauer, Thomas & Sinning, Mathias, 2005. "Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition for Tobit Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 5309, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Mathia Sinning & Markus Hahn & Thomas K. Bauer, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for nonlinear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 480-492, December.
  8. Joan R. Rodgers, 2004. "Hourly Wages of full-time and part-time employees in Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 231-254, June.
  9. Burda, Michael C & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Weil, Philippe, 2007. "Total Work, Gender and Social Norms," CEPR Discussion Papers 6232, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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 333-49, June.
  11. Begoña Alvarez & Daniel Miles, . "Gender Effect on Housework Allocation: Evidence from Spanish Two-Earner Couples," Studies on the Spanish Economy 114, FEDEA.
  12. Begoña Álvarez & Daniel Miles, 2004. "Husbands’ Housework Time: Does Wives’ Paid Employment Make a Difference?," Working Papers 0402, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  13. Meng, Xin & Meurs, Dominique, 2006. "Intermarriage, Language, and Economic Assimilation Process: A Case Study of France," IZA Discussion Papers 2461, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Heather Antecol, 2001. "Why Is There Interethnic Variation in the Gender Wage Gap?: The Role of Cultural Factors," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 119-143.
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  17. repec:ese:iserwp:2006-38 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
  19. Fernandez, Cristina & Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena, 2006. "Social norms and household time allocation," IESE Research Papers D/648, IESE Business School.
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  21. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  22. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  23. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  24. McDonald, James Ted & Worswick, Christopher, 1999. "The Earnings of Immigrant Men in Australia: Assimilation, Cohort Effects, and Macroeconomic Conditions," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(228), pages 49-62, March.
  25. Kidd, Michael P & Shannon, Michael, 2002. "The Gender Wage Gap in Australia--The Path of Future Convergence," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(241), pages 161-74, June.
  26. Bonke, Jens, 1992. "Distribution of Economic Resources: Implications of Including Household Production," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(3), pages 281-93, September.
  27. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  28. van der Lippe, Tanja & Siegers, Jacques J, 1994. "Division of Household and Paid Labour between Partners: Effects of Relative Wage Rates and Social Norms," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 109-36.
  29. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1985. "Cultural Differences in Labor Force Participation among Married Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 251-55, May.
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