Advertisement

Efficiency versus gender roles and stereotypes: an experiment in domestic production

  • Hélène Couprie
  • Elisabeth CudevilleEmail author
  • Catherine Sofer
Original Paper

Abstract

Empirical studies cast doubt on the efficiency assumption made in standard economic models of household behavior. In couples, the allocation of time between activities remains highly differentiated by gender. In this paper we examine whether couples deviate from efficiency in household production, using an experimental design. We compare the allocation of gendered vs. gender-neutral domestic tasks. Our results show that women in the household overspecialize in “feminine tasks” and men in “masculine tasks” compared to what their comparative advantage would require, hence revealing the influence of gender roles and stereotypes on the couples’ behavior.

Keywords

Social norms Stereotypes Gender roles Household models Gender inequalities 

JEL Classification

D13 J16 J22 C91 C92 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank P. Apps, M. Boltz, P-A Chiappori, the participants of the June 2014 Workshop “Economics of Gender” in Nice, as well as the anonymous referees and the editor, who kindly helped us to greatly improved the present paper. We also thank all the experimenters who helped us in running this experiment. Financial support from the French National Research Agency (ANR “Ginhdila”) is gratefully acknowledged. All errors remain ours.

Supplementary material

10683_2019_9612_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 1135 KB)
10683_2019_9612_MOESM2_ESM.zip (28 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (ZIP 29 KB)

References

  1. Aguiar, M., & Hurst, E. (2007). Measuring trends in leisure: The allocation of time over five decades. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(3), 969–1006.Google Scholar
  2. Akerlof, G. A., & Kranton, R. E. (2000). Economics and identity. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(3), 715–753.Google Scholar
  3. Apps, P. F., & Rees, R. (1997). Collective labor supply and household production. The Journal of Political Economy, 105(1), 178–190.Google Scholar
  4. Arrow, K. J. (1973). The theory of discrimination. In N. J. Princeton (Ed.), ‘Discrimination in labor markets’, Orley Ashenfelter and Albert Rees (pp. 3–33). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Auspurg, K., Iacovou, M., & Nicoletti, C. (2017). Housework share between partners: Experimental evidence on gender-specific preferences. Social Science Research, 66, 118–139.Google Scholar
  6. Beblo, M., Beninger, D., Cochard, F., Couprie, H., & Hopfensitz, A. (2015). Efficiency-equality trade-off within French and German couples: A comparative experimental study. Annals of Economics and Statistics, 117–118, 233–252.Google Scholar
  7. Becker, G. S. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bertrand, M., Kamenica, E., & Pan, J. (2013). Gender identity and relative income within households. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(2), 571–614.Google Scholar
  9. Bittman, M., England, P., Sayer, L., Folbre, N., & Matheson, G. (2003). When does gender trump money? Bargaining and time in household work. American Journal of Sociology, 109(1), 186–214.Google Scholar
  10. Bordalo, P., Coffman, K. B., Gennaioli, N., & Shleifer, A. (2016). Stereotypes. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 131(4), 1753–1794.Google Scholar
  11. Building, J., & Winqvist, K. (2004). How Europeans spend their time: Everyday life of women and men. Luxembourg: Rapport de la Commission Européenne: Edition Pocketbooks.Google Scholar
  12. Buis, M. (2012). Zoib: Stata module to fit a zero-one inflated beta distribution by maximum likelihood, Technical report, Statistical Software Components S457156, Boston College Department of Economics.Google Scholar
  13. Carter, M., & Katz, E. (1997). Separate spheres and the conjugal contract: Understanding the impact of gender-biased development. In J. H. L. Haddad & H. Alderman (Eds.), Intrahousehold resource allocation in developing countries: Methods, models and policies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (for the International Food Policy Research Institute).Google Scholar
  14. Chao, L., & Kohler, H. (2007). The behavioral economics of altruism, reciprocity, and transfers within families and rural communities: E vidence from S ub- S aharan A frica, Technical report, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  15. Chiappori, P. A. (1997). Introducing household production in collective models of labor supply. Journal of Political Economy, 105(1), 191–209.Google Scholar
  16. Coate, S., & Loury, G. C. (1993). Will affirmative-action policies eliminate negative stereotypes? The American Economic Review, 83(5), 1220–40.Google Scholar
  17. Cochard, C., & Hopfensitz, H. A. (2016). Do spouses cooperate? If not: Why? Review of Economics of the Household, 14(1), 1–26.Google Scholar
  18. Coffman, K. (2014). Evidence on self-stereotyping and the contribution of ideas. The Quartely Journal of Economics, 129(4), 1625–1660.Google Scholar
  19. Croson, R., & Gneezy, U. (2009). Gender differences in preferences. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(2), 1–27.Google Scholar
  20. Cudeville, E., & Recoules, M. (2015). Household behavior and social norms: A conjugal contract model. Annals of Economics and Statistics, 117–118, 279–312.Google Scholar
  21. Dasgupta, U., & Mani, S. (2015). Only mine or all ours: Do stronger entitlements affect altruistic choices in the household. World Development, 67, 363–375.Google Scholar
  22. Duflo, E., & Udry, C. (2004). Intrahousehold resource allocation in C ôte d’ I voire: Social norms, separate accounts and consumption choices, NBER Working Papers (w10498).Google Scholar
  23. Fahr, R., & Irlenbusch, B. (2000). Fairness as a constraint on trust in reciprocity: Earned property rights in a reciprocal exchange experiment. Economics Letters, 66(3), 275–282.Google Scholar
  24. Falk, A., & Ichino, A. (2006). Clean evidence on peer effects. Journal of Labor Economics, 24(1), 39–57.Google Scholar
  25. Greenstein, T. N. (2000). Economic dependence, gender, and the division of labor in the home: A replication and extension. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(2), 322–335.Google Scholar
  26. Grosse, N., Riener, G., & Dertwinkel-Kalt, M. (2014). Explaining gender differences in competitiveness: Testing a theory on gender-task stereotypes. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2551206. Accessed 11 July 2018.
  27. Günther, C., Ekinci, N. A., Schwieren, C., & Strobel, M. (2010). Women can’t jump? An experiment on competitive attitudes and stereotype threat. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 75(3), 395–401.Google Scholar
  28. Jussim, L., Crawford, J., & Rubinstein, R. S. (2015). Stereotype (in)accuracy in perceptions of groups and individuals. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(6), 490–497.Google Scholar
  29. Kalenkoski, C. M., Ribar, D. C., & Stratton, L. (2009). The influence of wages on parents’ allocations of time to child care and market work in the United-Kingdom. Journal of Population Economics, 22(2), 399–419.Google Scholar
  30. Kusago, T., & Barham, B. L. (2001). Preference heterogeneity, power, and intrahousehold decision-making in rural Malaysia. World Development, 29(7), 1237–1256.Google Scholar
  31. Lavy, V. (2008). Do gender stereotypes reduce girls’ or boys’ human capital outcomes? Evidence from a natural experiment. Journal of public Economics, 92(10–11), 2083–2105.Google Scholar
  32. Lundberg, S., & Pollak, R. A. (1993). Separate spheres bargaining and the marriage market. Journal of Political Economy, 101(6), 988–1010.Google Scholar
  33. Lundberg, S., Pollak, R. A., & Wales, T. (1997). Do husbands and wives pool their resources? Evidence from the United-Kingdom child benefit. Journal of Human Resources, 32(3), 463–480.Google Scholar
  34. Macrae, C., Milne, A., & Bodenhausen, G. (1994). Stereotypes as energy-saving devices: A peek inside the cognitive toolbox. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(1), 37–47.Google Scholar
  35. Mechtenberg, L. (2009). Cheap talk in the classroom: How biased grading at school explains gender differences in achievements, career choices and wages. Review of Economic Studies, 76(4), 1431–1459.Google Scholar
  36. Munro, A. (2015). Intra-household experiments: A survey and some methodological observations. Technical report, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.Google Scholar
  37. Munro, A. (2018). Intra-household experiments: A survey. Journal of Economic Surveys, 32(1), 134–175.Google Scholar
  38. Munro, A., Kebede, B., Tarazona-Gomez, M., & Verschoor, A. (2010). The lion’s share. Technical report, GRIPS Discussion Papers: An experimental analysis of polygamy in Northern Nigeria.Google Scholar
  39. Munro, A., Kebede, B., Tarazona-Gomez, M., & Verschoor, A. (2014). Autonomy and efficiency. An experiment on household decisions in two regions of India. Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, 33, 114–133.Google Scholar
  40. Niederle, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2007). Do women shy away from competition? Do men compete too much? The Quaterly Journal of Economics, 122(3), 1067–1101.Google Scholar
  41. OECD.stat. (2018). Time spent in paid and unpaid work, by sex. Accessed April 10, 2018. https://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=54757
  42. Papke, L. E., & Wooldridge, J. M. (1996). Econometric methods for fractional response variables with an application to 401(k) plan participation rates. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 11(6), 619–632.Google Scholar
  43. Papke, L. E., & Wooldridge, J. M. (2008). Panel data methods for fractional response variables with an application to test pass rates. Journal of Econometrics, 145(1–2), 121–133.Google Scholar
  44. Peters, H. E., Unür, A. S., Clark, J., & Schulze, W. D. (2004). Free-riding and the provision of public goods in the family: A laboratory experiment. International Economic Review, 45(1), 283–299.Google Scholar
  45. Phelps, E. S. (1972). The statistical theory of racism and sexism. American Economic Review, 62(September), 659–661.Google Scholar
  46. Rizavi, S. S., Sofer, C. (2010). Household division of labor: Is there any escape from traditional gender roles?. In CES Working Paper 2010.09, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.Google Scholar
  47. Schneider, D. (2011). Market earnings and household work: New tests of gender performance theory. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(4), 845–860.Google Scholar
  48. Schneider, D. J. (2005). The psychology of stereotyping. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  49. Sevilla-Sanz, A., Gimenez-Nadal, J. I., & Fernandez, C. (2010). Gender roles and the division of unpaid work in Spanish households. Feminist Economics, 16(4), 137–184.Google Scholar
  50. Sofer, C., & Thibout, C. (2011). Stereotypes upon abilities in domestic production and household behaviour. In CES Working Paper 2011.75, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.Google Scholar
  51. Udry, C. (1996). Gender, agricultural production, and the theory of the household. Journal of Political Economy, 104(5), 1010–46.Google Scholar
  52. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1(2), 125–151.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cergy-PontoiseCergy-Pontoise CedexFrance
  2. 2.CESUniversity of Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance
  3. 3.CES-PSEUniversity of Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

Personalised recommendations