Coordination or inequality? Couple’s time use and labor division in China

Dong Zhang, Sun Yat-sen University
Wanli Nie, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Taking advantage of the longitudinal panel data, we found three substantial trendings of Chinese married couple’s division of housework: more traditional way of practicing domestic chores during the 1990s, and suddenly swifting to more equally share of work in 2000s, and again falls into traditional or coordinated way of labor division in late 2000s. Another noticable finding goes to the cross sectional geographical distribution of labor division in Mainland China, for which suprisingly, the Western China are more equal in respect to housework sharing in weekdays and weekends. For further developing this paper, efforts should be paid in decomposing age or cohort effect in explaining the labor division trending from 1990s to 2010s, since we already noticed that the difference in labor division across years could be due to the various age structure of the sample. Also, for better testing the hypotheses, we should create dummy variables representing couple’s work time and income situation, for instance, husband’s work time more than wife’s, husband’s income higher than wife’s, and vice versa. Potentially, by clustering couples into groups by the above-mentioned two variables, work time and income, we could shed light on the aggregate performance of these groups respectively on their division of housework at home, so as to describe Chinese couple’s sharing pattern as either coordination or inequality.

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Presented in Poster Session 2