Culture and Household Decision Making: Balance of Power and Labor Supply Choices of Us-Born and Foreign-Born Couples

32 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014

Abstract

This study investigates how spouses' cultural backgrounds mediate the role of intra-household bargaining in the labor supply decisions of foreign-born and US-born couples, in a collective-household framework. Using data from the 2000 US Census, I show that the hours worked by US-born couples, and by those foreign-born coming from countries with gender roles similar to the US, are significantly related to common bargaining power forces such as differences between spouses in age and non-labor income, controlling for both spouses' demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Households whose culture of origin supports strict and unequal gender roles do not exhibit any association of these power factors with their labor supply decisions. This cultural asymmetry suggests that spousal attributes are assessed differently across couples within the US, and that how spouses make use of their outside opportunities and economic and institutional environment may depend on their ethnicities.

Keywords: culture, gender roles, household bargaining power, labor supply

JEL Classification: D1, J15, J22

Suggested Citation

Oreffice, Sonia, Culture and Household Decision Making: Balance of Power and Labor Supply Choices of Us-Born and Foreign-Born Couples. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7997, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2403133 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2403133

Sonia Oreffice (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/soniaoreffice/

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