Union History and Division of Domestic Work Between Partners

  • Anne Solaz
Part of the INED Population Studies book series (INPS, volume 5)


Union breakdown has become a more frequent event. It is a profound upheaval that involves a reorganization of life in both the domestic and occupational spheres. Separation may also challenge people’s expectations and ideals about living in a union. The aim of this chapter is to see whether the division of housework differs between the first and subsequent union.

To answer this apparently simple question we need to address several methodological issues. The first is the possible endogeneity of union order, which calls for the use of instrumental variables. The second is reliability of self-reported measures of labour division compared with time-use indicators. Our results show that although the statements made by male and female respondents differ, the presence of a partner during the interview is a good way to verify the consistency of replies. Specialization in domestic tasks increases with union duration whereas parenting tasks and parental decision-making are relatively stable over time. In men’s second unions, the division of domestic tasks is more egalitarian than in their first unions, but no difference is observed between women’s first and second unions.


Couple Housework Repartnering Division of labour Remarriage 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut national d’études démographiques (INED)ParisFrance

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