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The Allocation of Time within Italian Couples: Exploring its Unequal Gender Distribution and the Effect of Childcare Services

Tindara Addabbo (), Antonella Caiumi and Anna Maccagnan

Annals of Economics and Statistics, 2012, issue 105-106, 209-227

Abstract: This paper sets out to understand the unequal allocation of time by gender in Italian households, trying to account for the simultaneity of partners' decisions as well as the issue of censored observations. For these purposes, we estimate a simultaneous equation model on the partners' allocation of time based on the 2007 Italian Statistics on Income and Living Conditions microdata. This survey allows us to analyze the contribution of institutional factors (such as the heterogeneous distribution of childcare services in Italy and labour market differences), which are particularly relevant in a country like Italy where the female labour supply differs from region to region, and the gender gap in time distribution can be affected by the heterogeneous availability of childcare services. We note that the availability of childcare services represents the most relevant factor after regional unemployment, affecting women's participatory decisions as well as their hours of paid work. This effect is tangibly higher than the effect of their own wages: consistent with the literature on the female labour supply, this is positive, yet tangibly lower than the impact of the availability of kindergartens. In the light of the negative effect on mothers' working hours of the number of children of any age group, this phenomenon leads to calls for an increase in the availability of childcare services and better synchronization between working times and school opening times in order to increase the female labour supply.

Date: 2012
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