International Advances in Economic Research

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 448–459

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


DOI: 10.1007/s11294-008-9171-x

Cite this article as:
Dalmia, S. & Sicilian, P. Int Adv Econ Res (2008) 14: 448. doi:10.1007/s11294-008-9171-x


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.


Marital assignments Division of labor Market efficiency 


C51 C61 C78 J12 

Copyright information

© International Atlantic Economic Society 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.476C DeVos Center, Department of Economics, Seidman College of BusinessGrand Valley State UniversityGrand RapidsUSA

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