The Intra-household Division of Labor: An Empirical Analysis of Spousal Influences on Individual Time Allocation

Julia Bredtmann 1
1Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, 2Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI), Germany

Regarding total working hours, including both paid and unpaid labor, hardly any differences between German men and women exist. However, whereas men allocate most of their time to market work, women still do most of the non-market work. Using the German Time Use Surveys 1991/92 and 2001/02, this paper aims to shed light on the time allocation of East and West German couples and its development over time. Furthermore, it focuses on analyzing the interactions between the spouses’ times in paid and unpaid work. Thereby, an interdependent model of the partner’s time allocation that allows for simultaneity and endogeneity of the time allocation decisions of the partners is applied. The results suggest that male time in market and non-market work is unaffected by their wife’s time use, while women adjust their time allocation to the time schedule of their partner. These findings might partly explain why in Germany – and other European countries as well – gender differences in employment and wages still persist.

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