What if women earned more than their spouses? An experimental investigation of work division in couples

Cochard, François, Couprie, Hélène and Hopfensitz, Astrid (2018) What if women earned more than their spouses? An experimental investigation of work division in couples. Experimental Economics, 21 (1). pp. 50-71.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/31547


Female specialization on household work and male specialization on labor-market work is a widely observed phenomenon across time and countries. This absence of gender neutrality with respect to work-division is known as the work-division puzzle. Gender differences regarding characteristics (preferences, productivity) and context (wage rates, social norms) are generally recognized as competing explanations for this fact. We experimentally control for context and productivity to investigate preferences for work-division by true co-habiting couples, in a newly developed specialization task. Efficiency in this task comes at the cost of inequality, giving higher earnings to the advantaged player. We compare behavior when men (or women) are in the advantaged position, which corresponds to the traditional (or power) couple case where he (or she) earns more. We show that women do not contribute more than men to the household public good whatever the situation. This result allows us to rule out some of the standard explanations of the work-division puzzle.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: March 2018
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Experiment on couples, Time allocation, Work-division
JEL codes: C99 - Other
D13 - Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
J16 - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2017 08:36
Last Modified: 29 May 2018 23:11
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:31547
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/23198

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