, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 448-459

Kids Cause Specialization: Evidence for Becker’s Household Division of Labor Hypothesis

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Abstract

We examine the division of labor within households and marital matching patterns in the USA using both the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). We use Becker’s theory of marriage markets by estimating household production functions and using the estimates to test for positive or negative assortive matching. We also construct match matrices, which are used to judge how well our model fits Becker’s theory. We find positive assortative matching on all traits in young marriages and couples without children, and negative assortment along some traits in marriages with children. This suggests that children induce specialization whereas couples without children exploit household public goods.