Accepted at Journal of Labor Economics! Our paper 'Specialization, Comparative Advantage and the Sexual Division of Labor' concludes that comparative advantage (CA) has little or no role in the sexual division of labor #Econtwitter @SOLE_Labor_Econ… 🧵1/10 Image
2/10 Jointly authored with my outstanding former honours student Rhiannon Yetsenga, we believe this is the most direct test to date of Becker’s CA explanation. This is an ambitious paper, with many challenges, including:
3/10 1. CA is not actually observed since absolute advantage in domestic work (AAD) is unobserved. To address this, we examine what AAD would need to be for CA to explain couples’ observed time allocations. We also exploit exogenous gendered shocks to wages
4/10 2. Absolute advantage in market work (AAM) is also missing unless both couple members are employees! To help with this, we draw on 17 years of panel data, combined with several imputation strategies for people who were not employees at any point through this period
5/10 At every point of the AAM distribution, females do the majority of domestic work. If one extrapolates outside the support, a woman needs to be over 100 times more productive in market work than her male partner before reaching expected parity in domestic work Image
6/10 3. AAM is likely endogenous, since human capital reflects earlier time use decisions, especially time in market work (MW). But the direction of bias is favorable to our conclusions, and Instrumental Variable analysis supports our findings
7/10 4. Becker’s (unitary) model imposes major restrictions on behavioural responses to wages. So we introduce and analyse new measures of specialisation (drawing on time use in MW and DW by both couple members), which avoid those restrictions. These lead to similar conclusions
8/10 We also show that same-sex couples specialise less, and this is explained by having fewer children. Absolute advantage also plays no role in specialization for same-sex couples, and this is not explained by having fewer children
9/10 We’re proud of this paper and grateful to our editor @martha_j_bailey , the anonymous referees, and to others whose feedback helped us along the way, including:
10/10 @VictoriaBaranov Deborah Cobb-Clark, Mario Fiorini, Esther Mirjam Girsberger, Dan Hamermesh, Chris Jepsen, @davewjohnston @ShellyJLundberg @shikomaruyama, Jessica Pan, Olena Stavrunova and Steven Stillman @UTSEngage @UTS_Economics @UTS_Business

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