Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 225–249 | Cite as

Household division of labor and cross-country differences in household formation rates

  • Almudena Sevilla-SanzEmail author
Original Paper


This paper considers the extent to which the gender division of labor affects the likelihood of household formation. Using repeated cross sectional data covering highly-developed nations, we consider the differential effects of aggregate social norms regarding the division of household labor. Controlling for other factors that affect the marriage market, our findings indicate that more egalitarian norms are associated with an increase in the probability of forming a household. When additionally controlling for individual attitudes, we find that, ceteris paribus, more egalitarian women are less likely to form a household, while more egalitarian men are more likely to do so. This pattern of results is consistent with economic models of the marriage market where partners contract over the future household division of labor. Moreover, given the salience of household formation as a proximate determinant of fertility, our results potentially shed light onto the process of below replacement fertility and the economic challenges associated with it.


Household formation Social norms Division of labor 

JEL Classification

D13 J0 Z13 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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