Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Till mess do us part: Married women's market hours, home production, and divorce

García-Morán, Eva and Kuehn, Zoe (2023): Till mess do us part: Married women's market hours, home production, and divorce.

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Part time jobs facilitate the conciliation of work and family life. But they entail reduced returns to experience and translate into lower own income in case of divorce. Given non-trivial divorce risks, why do married women work so little? Using micro data for Germany, we show married mothers' market hours (hours dedicated to housework) to be positively (negatively) related to separations. We then propose a dynamic life-cycle model of mothers' labor force participation, home production, and endogenous divorce which we calibrate to German data. Making divorce exogenous or ruling out divorce leads to an overestimation of the share of married mothers working full time and an underestimation of their housework and child care time, particularly among medium and highly educated women. Carrying out three policy experiments (increasing alimony, eliminating joint taxation, subsidizing child care) we highlight how couples' considerations of divorce risks condition the effects of such policies on married mothers' market hours.

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