Would you Marry me? The Effects of Marriage on German Couples’ Allocation of Time

El Lahga, AbdelRahmen ; Moreau, Nicolas

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URL: http://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/1504
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-15040
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2007
The title of a journal, publication series: None
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Subject headings (SWD): Ehe , Eheähnliche Gemeinschaft , Arbeitswelt , Hausarbeit , Soziale Rolle , Sozialstatus
Abstract: Living arrangements have undergone considerable change in recent decades. In most Western countries marriage is no longer the exclusive context of family formation. These demographic trends challenge the microeconomic literature in which couples living in consensual unions are implicitly assumed to act exactly as married couples. A closer look at the literature reveals, however, growing evidence of the link between marital status and household behavior with respect to many outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the shift from cohabitation to marriage is associated with a significant change in household market and non-market labor supply. More specifically, we use a long German panel (GSOEP) to test whether the transition from cohabitation to marriage reinforces the degree of specialization among couples. We estimate a model that relates married life to the female-to-male domestic and market work hours log ratios. Other regressors of the log ratios are the female relative earnings, the number of children and the duration of the relationship. Our results suggest that marriage increases female specialization in home-based activities. Importantly, marriage leads to a fall in women's leisure, particularly for couples with pre-school children. The results also exhibit a fall in married men's leisure coming from either a rise in market hours or an increase in domestic hours depending on the specification.
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