Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 939–970 | Cite as

Women’s employment and the decline of home cooking: Evidence from France, 1985–2010

  • Fabrice EtiléEmail author
  • Marie Plessz


We here investigate the extent to which labour-market changes explain the decline in the time spent home cooking by married women in France between 1985 and 2010. Using time use data and Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions, we find that rising women’s employment and observed wages together account for about 60% of the fall in the time married women spent cooking. We then use a semi-parametric matching technique to construct an implicit wage rate, which better reflects the change in labour-market incentives that individuals face. The rise in women’s implicit wages explains no more than 20% of the decline in their cooking time, while the wage of their partner has no effect. Changing labour-market incentives are thus far from being the main driver of the decline in home-cooking. We also find evidence that home cooking continues to be structured by the gendered social norm of the “proper family meal”.

JEL Codes

D13 I18 J22 


Cooking Household production Labour supply Wages Gender 



We would like to thank the referees and editors for their comments and suggestions, Andrew Clark and seminar participants at Monash University (Centre for Health Economics), Toulouse School of Economics (Food policy seminar), Oxford (Worshop on time use surveys) and the INRA-DID’IT annual workshop. We acknowledge funding from Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique’s Metaprogram DID’IT.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11150_2018_9423_MOESM1_ESM.docx (143 kb)
Supplementary Material


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paris School of Economics and INRA, 48 Boulevard JourdanParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre Maurice Halbwachs (EHESS, ENS, CNRS, PSL Research University) and INRAParisFrance

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