Why are married men working so much? An aggregate analysis of intra-household bargaining and labor supply

Knowles, John (2013) Why are married men working so much? An aggregate analysis of intra-household bargaining and labor supply. Review of Economic Studies, 80, (3), 1055-1085. (doi:10.1093/restud/rds043).


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Are macro-economists mistaken in ignoring bargaining between spouses? This paper argues that models of intra-household allocation could be useful for understanding aggregate labor supply trends in the US since the 1970s. A simple calculation suggests that the standard model without bargaining predicts a 19% decline in married-male labor supply in response to the narrowing of the gender gap in wages since the 1970s. However married-men's paid labor remained stationary over the period from the mid 1970s to the recession of 2001. This paper develops and calibrates to US time-use survey data a model of marital bargaining in which time allocations are determined jointly with equilibrium marriage and divorce rates. The results suggest that bargaining effects raised married men's labor supply by about 2.1 weekly hours over the period, and reduced that of married women by 2.7 hours. Bargaining therefore has a relatively small impact on aggregate labor supply, but is critical for trends in female labor supply. Also, the narrowing of the gender wage gap is found to account for a weekly 1.5 hour increase in aggregate labor supply.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/restud/rds043
ISSNs: 0034-6527 (print)
1467-937X (electronic)
Keywords: general aggregative models: neoclassical, time allocation and labor supply, economics of gender, marriage, marital dissolution
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Economics
ePrint ID: 193509
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
3 July 2013Published
4 December 2012Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2011 08:12
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:43
Centre for Population Change: Understanding Population Change in the 21st Century
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-625-28-0001)
Led by: Jane Cecelia Falkingham
1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/193509

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