Working paper
The sexual division of labour within couples in France according to their marital status : A study based on time - use surveys from 1985-1986, 1998-1999, and 2009-2010
Working paper de l'OFCE : 2017-04
Mots clés
Sexual division of labour, Marital status, Family economics, Time-use survey, Matching method
The purpose of this article is to analyse the division of domestic tasks within the couple according to their marital status as well as how this has changed since the 1980s based on three INSEE time-use surveys (1985-86, 1998-99 and 2009-10). The ordinary least squares (OLS) method is complemented by the matching method, which is used to account for the self-selection of the couples in terms of their observable characteristics in different forms of union (marriage, cohabitation and civil partnerships for 2009-10). In 1985-86 and in 1998-99, the degree of the sexual division of labour was higher for married couples than for cohabiting couples. For 1985-1986, this difference is explained by differences in the characteristics of the couples who were cohabiting. However, by the late 1990s cohabiting couples had opted for an organization that was less unequal than that of married couples, all else being equal. For 2009-10, the average amount of domestic work performed by women was about the same whether they were cohabiting or married (72% and 73.5%), but the level was significantly lower for women in civil partnerships (65.1%). These differences are not due to differences in the observable characteristics of the couples based on the type of union. The article shows that this difference is due to a process of the couples’ self-selection based on their values: in 2009-10, civil partnerships attracted more “egalitarian” couples who, prior to the introduction of civil partnerships, had opted to cohabit.