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The Division of Labour Within Households: Fractional Logit Estimates based on the Austrian Time Use Survey

Spitzer, Sonja and Hammer, Bernhard (2016): The Division of Labour Within Households: Fractional Logit Estimates based on the Austrian Time Use Survey.

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The allocation of paid and unpaid work within households strongly depends on the household members’ individual characteristics. The most important of these characteristics is gender, followed by education and parenthood. Despite the significant increase in women’s labour market participation in the last decades, they still perform 73 percent of housework and 79 percent of childcare in 2008/09.

This paper studies the determinants of the persistent division of labour within households with a new approach that combines standard absolute measures of time use with the relative measure of time use shares. This approach allows for a better understanding of the division of labour and the influence of the household member’s characteristics on these allocations. The empirical analysis relies on the Austrian time use survey conducted in 1992 and 2008/09. To appropriately account for the complex structure of time use data, the fractional logit model is applied for predicting shares, and a Poisson-gamma model is introduced for estimating total amounts. Hereby, the complex dynamics of task allocation can be studied in Austria for the first time.

The results indicate for the last two decades that there has been an overall increase in the time devoted to market work and childcare, but also that there has been a total decrease in housework. The latter may be explained by an increase in outsourcing work, due to gains in productivity, or because work is simply left undone. The results of the study also show that the higher women are educated, the more balanced paid and unpaid work are within households. On the contrary, parenthood increases female specialisation into unpaid work. Lastly, the results indicate a slight relaxation of gender roles over the last 20 years, however, the segregation of paid and unpaid work still persists.

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