Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 1998:22: Marriage, Housework and Fairness

Frida Widmalm
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Frida Widmalm: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: I explore the effects of a preference for fairness in the division of housework between two spouses in two different models of household time allocation. Both in the model with agreeing spouses and the model with noncooperative spouses, such a preference has an equalising effect on the division of labour between the partners. In the noncooperative setting, the wife gets better off and the husband worse off in terms of private consumption. I also argue that both the allocation process and the degree of fairness consideration matter for policy outcomes and discuss three policy measures in relation to these two factors.

Keywords: Fairness; housework; unpaid work; household production; household time allocation

JEL-codes: C72; D13; D63

39 pages, October 15, 1998

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