New GLO Discussion Paper investigates how life satisfaction of couples relates to the allocation of housework between them.

Does a fairer allocation of housework make her feel better? A new research paper by Gigi Foster (University of New South Wales) and Leslie S. Stratton (Virginia Commonwealth University) on housework is just freely available as a Global Labor Organization (GLO) Discussion Paper. A core finding of the study is that “when he exceeds housework norms, she is happier with housework allocations, but is less happy in broader dimensions.”

Foster, Gigi & Stratton, Leslie S. (2018) : What Women Want (their men to do): Housework and satisfaction in Australian households, GLO Discussion Paper, No. 225. PDF Free Download.

Abstract: The time allocated to household chores is substantial, with the burden falling disproportionately upon women. Further, social norms about how much housework men and women should contribute are likely to influence couples’ housework allocation decisions and satisfaction. Using Australian data spanning the years 2001-2014, we employ a two-stage estimation procedure to examine how deviations from housework norms relate to couples’ satisfaction. We find that satisfaction is negatively affected by predicted housework time, and that women’s satisfaction, but not men’s, is robustly affected by their partners’ residual housework time. When he exceeds housework norms, she is happier with housework allocations, but less happy in broader dimensions. We suggest several reasons for our results, including that housework is more salient in women’s lives than in men’s, that housework in general is not a preferred activity, and that some degree of gender-norm conformity in regard to housework can positively affect women’s life satisfaction.

Titles and free access/links to GLO Discussion Papers

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs downloadable for free.

Senior Editors:
Matloob Piracha (University of Kent) & GLO Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and Bonn University).
Managing Editor: Magdalena Ulceluse, University of Groningen.

M.M. (Magdalena) Ulceluse, PhD