Housework share between partners: Experimental evidence on gender-specific preferences

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This paper uses a novel vignette-based experimental design to investigate the reasons underlying the gendered division of housework. We are particularly interested in the role of gender-specific preferences: are there differences in the utility that men and women derive from housework, and might these be responsible for the fact that women continue to do more housework than men? It is difficult to address these questions with conventional survey data, because of inherent problems with endogeneity and ex-post rationalization; our experimental design circumvents these problems. We find remarkably little evidence of any systematic gender differences in preferences, and a general inclination towards an equal distribution of housework; this suggests that the reasons for the gendered division of housework do not derive from gender differences in preferences, and must lie elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-139
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Science Research
Early online date16 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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