Gender gap in time on housework: the case of Italy

Adele Menniti, Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali (IRPPS)
Pietro Demurtas, Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali (IRPPS)
Serena Arima, Sapienza Università di Roma
Alessandra De Rose, Sapienza Università di Roma

The paper focuses on gender gap in housework among heterosexual Italian couples. We first describe the recent changes in the amount of time Italian coupled men and women allocate on housework by comparing data collected in two successive Time Use Surveys (1988-1998 and 2008-2009). Results confirm that the domestic duties still are a female burden and that the increase of the Italian men involvement is negligible. Then, to explain this persistent gender bias we tested the “relative resources” hypothesis, that considers the division of housekeeping work as the result of a bargaining process between the two partners, and the “gender ideology hypothesis”, that implies a negative effect of a social and cultural climate favorable to the gender division of labor on the division of domestic duties within the couple. We used the 2008-09 Time Use Survey data and selected married and unmarried couples where both partners filled the diary; the restricted sample includes 10,446 couples. We applied an Hurdle model which is a substantial advancement with respect to other statistical modeling usually applied to time use data. Indeed, the truncated structure of the response variable, which is zero-inflated, needs to be taken into account. One limitation of the standard count models is that the zeros and the non-zeros (positives) are assumed to come from the same data-generating process; the Hurdle model does not constraint these two processes to be the same. Our results enlighten the bargaining power of those women who are in a relatively better position of their partners as far as income is concerned and the role played by the traditional gender ideology.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1