Sharing or not sharing ? Household division of labor and marital status in France 1985-2009
OFCE Working paper
Paris : OFCE
OFCE Working paper : 12
Domestic labor, Marital status, Gender, Time use survey, Matching method
This paper aims to explain why the division of domestic labor within couples differs according to their marital status. We analyze the evolution of the gender division of labor in France using time-use surveys (1985, 1999 and 2009). In 1985 and in 1998, married women were performing a larger share of domestic labor than cohabiting women. In 1985 this gap is explained by differences in the observed characteristics of married and cohabiting couples, whereas by the late 1990s cohabiting couples were opting for an organization that was less unequal than that of married couples, all else being equal. In 2009, the average share of domestic labor performed by women was about the same whether they were cohabiting or married (72% and 73.5%), but it was significantly lower for women in civil union, which was introduced in 1999 (65.1%). The self-selection process of couples regarding their gender ideology might explain this result: the civil partnership attracts more egalitarian couples.