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

Research output: Working paperWorking papers


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
Place of PublicationLüneburg
PublisherInstitut für Volkswirtschaftslehre - Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Number of pages51
Publication statusPublished - 04.2021