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New spouse, same chores? The division of household labor in consecutive unions

Miriam Beblo and Anne Solaz ()

No 1, Working Papers from French Institute for Demographic Studies

Abstract: This article investigates domestic sphere investments, that is, housework and childcare time, of spouses in two consecutive relationships and aims to identify potential sources of variation. Economic reasoning would predict a learning effect from one partnership to the next, and hence less specialization in the domestic sphere in the second relationship. Prevailing gender norms or institutions, on the contrary, may prevent such adjustments in the division of housework. In a fixed-effects regression analysis with the German SocioEconomic Panel, we compare time allocations of couples whose members experienced two consecutive partnerships from 1991 to 2012. Our results indicate that women's and men's successive matches differ from each other. Women and their new partners tend to reallocate time from housework to childcare while men's individual domestic investment patterns remain similar across unions. Highly educated women conform most to the economic rationale by reducing their marital investments significantly in their next partnership.

Keywords: Domestic work; household chores; childcare; gender; divison of domestic labour; Germany; German socio-economic panel data; GENRE / GENDER; MODE D'ACCUEIL DE L'ENFANT / CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENTS; ALLEMAGNE / GERMANY; TRAVAIL DOMESTIQUE / DOMESTIC WORK (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 163–191
Date: 2019-12-31
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Published in Socio-Economic Review

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DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwy014

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