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The parenthood effect: what explains the increase in gender inequality when British couples become parents?. Pia Schober London School of Economics. Motivation. Gender inequality in time allocations and wages widen from parenthood

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The parenthood effect: what explains the increase in gender inequality when British couples become parents?

Pia Schober

London School of Economics


Motivation
Motivation

  • Gender inequality in time allocations and wages widen from parenthood

  • Few studies exploring this transition include changes in paid and domestic work

  • Most only describe change (Gershuny 2003) or based on small non-representative samples (e.g. Singley and Hynes 2005)

  • Mostly US evidence

    What pre-parental factors can explain change in British couples‘ division of labour after becoming parents?


Theories

Theories to explain domestic labour division:

  • Neo-classical economic theory (Becker 1981 etc)

  • Resource-bargaining approach (Blau 1964; Manser and Brown 1980; Lundberg and Pollak 1996 etc)

  • Doing gender (West and Fenstermaker 1995)

    Changing families and heterogeneity in identities:

  • Identity of growing importance (Giddens 1992; Beck 1992)

  • Considerable diversity in women‘s work-family preferences or attitudes (Hakim 2000; Wall 2007)


Theoretical framework and hypotheses
Theoretical framework and hypotheses

Extension of rational choice model with sociological identity theory:

  • Gender role identity affects paid and domestic labour

  • Maximisation of household‘s private and public goods

  • Trade-offs between economic and psychological costs and benefits

    Couple‘s division of childcare, housework and paid work after becoming parents expected to be less traditional:

  • H1: The higher women’s pre-parental wage rate relative to their partners’

  • H2: The more egalitarian women’s gender role identities

  • H3: The more egalitarian men’s gender role identity


Method and data
Method and Data

  • British Household Panel Survey (1992-2005)

  • Sample of 549 cohabiting couples becoming parents

  • Women older than 20 years at birth

  • Focus on 2nd year after birth

  • Ordered and binary logistic regressions of couples‘ childcare, housework and paid work division

  • 1/3 missing data imputed through chained equations

  • Not considered: maternity leave and interdependencies


Dependent variables
Dependent variables

  • Whether mother has main childcare responsibility or father equally or more responsible

  • Women‘s weekly housework hours as % of couple‘s total in quartile categories

  • Women‘s weekly paid work hours as % of couple‘s total in quartile categories

  • Men‘s and women‘s absolute weekly hours in housework and paid work




Explanatory variables
Explanatory variables

  • Couples‘ pre-parental division of housework and paid work

  • Women‘s and men‘s gender role attitudes

  • Women‘s hourly earnings as % of couple‘s total

  • Log of men‘s monthly earnings and women‘s hourly wage rate

    Controls:

  • Both partners‘ education, women‘s age, age difference

  • Relationship duration, marital status at birth

  • Age and sex of 1st child

  • Whether will have 2nd child within 3 years

  • Job dissatisfaction and employment sector

  • Survey year and region





Summary and conclusion
Summary and conclusion

  • Gender role identities account for most of the shift towards more traditional division of labour

  • Relative earnings not significant after accounting for pre-parental division of labour

  • Women‘s absolute earnings significant for housework division (increasing men‘s housework time)

  • Partner‘s gender role identity more significant than own identity for total housework time


Uk us comparison context matters
UK – US comparison: context matters

  • Greater significance of gender role identities may point to more choice in UK than US

  • May be due to longer leave and availability of part-time employment

  • Gendered assumption of maternity/paternity leave policies in UK may discourage non-traditional division of labour even when women earn more

  • More evidence on associations with individual entitlements and take-up needed


Theoretical framework and hypotheses1
Theoretical framework and hypotheses

Extension of rational choice model with sociological identity theory:

  • Gender role identity affects paid and domestic labour

  • Maximisation of household‘s private and public goods

  • Trade-offs between economic and psychological costs and benefits

    Uw(k, hw, cw, xw) = U(k) − f(Gw)Vw(hw, cw) + xw

    Um(k, hm, cm, xm) = U(k) − f(Gm)Vm(hm, cm) + xm

    Couple‘s division of childcare, housework and paid work after becoming parents expected to be less traditional:

  • H1: The higher women’s pre-parental wage rate relative to their partners’

  • H2: The more egalitarian women’s gender role identities

  • H3: The more egalitarian men’s gender role identity


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