Women's Investment in Career and Household Division in Labor

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 38/16

Date: 2016


Catherine Sofer
Claire Thibout


The effects of women’s strong investments in career on the intra-household division of labor, particularly the share of partners in domestic work, constitute important but unaddressed issues. We use the 2010 French Time Use survey, focusing on two-income couples. We first build indicators of female investment in career, measured in comparison to other similar women or to the woman’s partner. We then investigate how the partners allocate time according to the intensity of women’s investment. To achieve this objective, we estimate a five-equation model of domestic and labor market work by partners and the use of domestic help. We show that couples where women are invested in career tend to share tasks more equally. These women do less domestic work during weekdays. This diminution is partly compensated on weekends by their partners, but also slightly by women themselves on weekends when they invest more in their careers than their partners do. Also, when they are heavily invested in their careers compared to other women, they tend to use more often domestic help. However, even when women dedicate themselves more than their partners to their careers, women still spend more time on domestic tasks than their partners on average, implying no role reversal in the division of labor.

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  • Time use, gender, division of labor, domestic production, household decision-making