IESE Research Papers
Social norms and household time allocation
() and Almudena Sevilla-Sanz
Abstract: Economic theories of the household predict that increases
in female relative human capital lead to decreases in female housework
time. However, longitudinal and cross-sectional evidence seems to
contradict this implication. Women's share of home time fails to decrease
despite increases in women's relative earnings. The literature has proposed
social norms on the household division of labor as an alternative
explanation. We use the 2002-2003 Spanish Time Use Survey (STUS) to explore
the presence of social norms associated with the household division of
housework and childcare. First, we observe that wives who earn more than
their husbands still do more than 50% of the housework and childcare.
Second, we find that a woman's relative share of housework decreases as her
relative earnings increase, but only up to the point where she earns the
same as her husband. Finally, independently of the definition of childcare,
the relative time devoted to childcare does not vary with spouses' relative
earnings. All these findings suggest that social norms may be an important
factor in the division of household time.
Keywords: Household production; intrahousehold allocation; time allocation; social norms; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D13; Z13; (follow links to similar papers)
28 pages, September 11, 2006
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