Sons, daughters, and parents’ division of paid work and housework

Matthias Pollmann-Schult, Social Science Research Center Berlin

Children play an important role in shaping the division of labor within couples. This study examines whether the impact of parenthood on the household division of paid work and housework is moderated by child gender, and thereby extends previous work on the effect of child gender on family life. The empirical analysis used fixed effects models and data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984–2011, N = 7,572) to estimate the effect of child gender on the parental division of labor. It showed that both fathers and mothers of boys spend more hours on paid work than parents of girls. However, this effect of child gender is much stronger for women than for men. With regard to housework, parents of a same-sex child spend more time on household work than parents of an opposite-sex child. Overall, the analysis reveals that having a daughter is associated with a more traditional division of labor than having a son. However, the results show that the child gender effect on time spent on paid work and housework attenuated over time.

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Presented in Session 75: Family formation and the labour market