Of housewives and feminists: Gender norms and intra-household division of labour

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To investigate the role of gender norms in household specialisation choices, I conduct a lab experiment with real hetero-sexual couples playing a battle of the sexes game. The salience of gender norms varies across treatments: the Norm group chooses between strategies labelled as a family specialisation game (Career vs. Family), the Neutral group chooses A vs. B. Women respond strongly to the salience of Norms; they opt for Career at a significantly lower rate compared to Neutral, regardless of familiarity with their partner. By contrast, men's response is weak and heterogeneous across partner and stranger pairings. Additional analyses suggest that the pattern is not explained by differential beliefs, but is consistent with marriage market motives of some men who may want to signal progressive gender attitudes to their partner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102044
JournalLabour Economics
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 10.2021

Bibliographical note

Valuable comments by the editor, Manuela Angelucci, and two anonymous referees, as well as Ralph Bayer, Miriam Beblo, Elisabeth Bublitz, Francesco Fallucchi, Evelyn Korn, Eva Markowsky, Gerd Mühlheußer, Daniele Nosenzo, Kristin Paetz, Grischa Perino, Elizabeth Peters, Arne Pieters, Ernesto Reuben, Patrick Schneider, Melanie Schröder, Joël van der Weele, David Wozniak, as well as participants of the 2018 Leuphana Workshop on Microeconomics and meetings of ASSA, MBEES and WEAI are gratefully acknowledged. I thank the WiSo Graduate School of Universitaet Hamburg and Miriam Beblo for providing funds in support of this project.