The effect of retirement on Italian couples’ labour division: a simultaneous equation approach

Marcantonio Caltabiano, Università di Messina
Maria Gabriella Campolo, Università di Messina
Antonio Di Pino, Università di Messina

Several studies found that Italian married or cohabiting women generally suffer a higher gender gap in intra-household labour division than elsewhere in Europe. However, the gendered division of labour is in part an effect of life course events, as the birth of a child or the transition from cohabitation to marriage. The aim of this study is to use data on Italian couples from the Istat FFS survey for the years 2003 and 2007 to explore gender differences. We examine the extent to which married or cohabiting adults in their 50s and 60s provide informal help to their family after retirement. A Difference-in-Differences (DID) specification of simultaneous equations of market and domestic work of both partners is adopted. Namely, the effects of the retirement of a partner on both market and domestic work (measured in weekly working hours) of the other partner is estimated using a simultaneous equation approach. We assume that latent variables - such as the “bargaining process” between partners - influence labour division. Misspecification of bargaining and other latent factors are corrected imposing specific constraints on the errors covariance matrix. To evaluate the impact of gender attitude on partners’ labour division, we use a cluster-based classification of couples according to gender attitudes. Preliminary results show that retired men spend more time with housework - both in their own and their partner’s domain - than they do when continuously employed. The retirement of the partner influences positively woman participation in the labour market, and negatively her domestic work. Moreover, the data reveal that the time devoted to domestic work generally increases for both retired and employed adult men during the period 2003-2007 (about to eight weekly hours). However, the positive variation of domestic work registered on adult men, as an effect of their retirement, is close to 30%.

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Presented in Session 10: Pensions and retirement