Social Indicators Research

, Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 1207–1230 | Cite as

Time Allocation and Women’s Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Spain

  • Begoña ÁlvarezEmail author
  • Daniel Miles-Touya


We use data on Spanish dual-earner couples to analyze the relationship between time allocation patterns and women’s life satisfaction. In line with evidence from other countries, we find that part-time jobs yield (on average) higher levels of life satisfaction than do full-time jobs. This paper shows that life satisfaction is affected by the combination of paid work time and unpaid responsibilities. In particular, being responsible for most of the housework reduces life satisfaction for full-time female workers. An analysis by subgroups reveals that having a part-time job and doing most of the housework is associated with greater life satisfaction but only among women with caring responsibilities, without a university education, or with self-reported conservative values. Finally, we explore the role of mismatches between actual and preferred time allocation. Women with part-time jobs are more (resp. less) likely to report mismatches in working (resp. housework) time than are women with full-time jobs. The type of time mismatch that most penalizes working women’s subjective well-being is actually doing less housework than desired. This evidence could help explain the observed “life satisfaction penalty” on full-time female workers. Overall, our findings underscore the continued dominance of traditional gender norms in Spanish households.


Part-time employment Housework Subjective well-being Gender 

JEL Classification

J22 D13 J31 J12 J16 



The authors acknowledge financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, Grant No. ECO2011-25661.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Economía AplicadaUniversidade de VigoVigoSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Economía Aplicada, RGEAUniversidade de VigoVigoSpain

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