What Women Want (Their Men to Do): Housework and Satisfaction in Australian Households

52 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017

See all articles by Gigi Foster

Gigi Foster

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Leslie S. Stratton

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

The time allocated to household chores is substantial, with the burden falling disproportionately upon women. Further, social norms about how much work men and women should contribute in the home are likely to influence couples' housework allocation decisions and evaluations of their lot. Using Australian data, we employ a two-stage estimation procedure to examine how deviations from housework norms relate to couples' satisfaction. In stage one, we model housework time to identify predicted (i.e., socially expected) and residual components. In support of this bifurcation, the residual housework time measures are strongly related to each partner's perceived fairness of the division of household tasks. In stage two, we predict satisfaction based on predicted and residual housework time. We find that women's satisfaction, but not men's, is robustly affected by their partners' residual housework time. When he exceeds housework norms, she is happier with housework allocations, but less happy in broader dimensions.

Keywords: satisfaction, social norms, housework

JEL Classification: D13, I31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Foster, Gigi and Stratton, Leslie S., What Women Want (Their Men to Do): Housework and Satisfaction in Australian Households. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10832. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2988179

Gigi Foster (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Leslie S. Stratton

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 844000
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States
804-828-7141 (Phone)
804-828-1719 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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