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Specialization in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples

Thomas Hofmarcher and Erik Plug ()
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Erik Plug: University of Amsterdam

No 14709, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We examine time allocation decisions in same-sex and different-sex couples from a Beckerian comparative advantage perspective. In particular, we estimate the comparative advantage relationship between time spent on either market or household activities and a dummy for being the highest earner in a couple on samples of same-sex and different-sex couples. Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), we find that same-sex couples specialize not as much as different-sex couples. We argue that these specialization differences are driven by the most traditional different-sex couples. Without married couples with wives at home taking care of children and husbands working outside the home, which represent at most 20 percent of all different-sex couples, we find that the highest earner in a couple spends 80 minutes more per day on market work and 40 minutes less per day on household work, regardless their sexual orientation. We therefore conclude that, from a comparative advantage perspective, most same-sex and different-sex couples specialize equally.

Keywords: time allocation; household work; market work; same-sex couples; different-sex couples; comparative advantage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 J15 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2021-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-isf and nep-lma
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