Why are Married Men Working so Much?

42 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2005

See all articles by John Knowles

John Knowles

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2005


We document a negative trend in the leisure of men married to women aged 25-45, relative to that of their wives, and a positive trend in relative housework. Taken together, these trends rule out a popular class of labor supply models in which unitary households maximize the sum of the spouse's utility. We develop a simple bargaining model of marriage, divorce and allocations of leisure-time and housework. According to the model, a rise in women's relative wage will reduce husband's leisure and marriage rates when the quality of single life is relatively high for women. Calibration to US data shows the trend in relative wages explains most of the trend in relative leisure and about a third of the trend in housework, while the simultaneous trend in home-durables prices explains the balance of the housework trend.

Keywords: General Aggregative Models, Neoclassical, Marriage, Marital Dissolution, Family Structure, Economics of Gender, Non-labor Discrimination, Time Allocation, Work Behavior, Employment Determination and Creation, Human Capital, Time Allocation and Labor Supply

JEL Classification: E13, J12, J16, J20, J22

Suggested Citation

Knowles, John, Why are Married Men Working so Much? (November 2005). PIER Working Paper No. 05-031, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=868472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.868472

John Knowles (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
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Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7701 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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