Presence of children and inequality in the household: employment, housework and earnings in European heterosexual couples

Dotti Sani, Giulia Maria (2013) Presence of children and inequality in the household: employment, housework and earnings in European heterosexual couples. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The dissertation investigates couples’ gender inequality in paid and unpaid work as well as in earnings, especially as this inequality relates to parenthood with a cross-national focus. The different behavior of partnered women and men in the three areas is investigated in different institutional circumstances, focusing on if and how individual and household characteristics are related to within-household gender inequality; then, the extent to which the presence of children is associated with less gender equality in women and men's participation in the work force, division of domestic chores, and relative earnings capacity is investigated; further, I consider how individuals embedded in different contextual and institutional circumstances - in particular referring to welfare regimes, but not only – behave differently in the three areas and whether the contextual traits have a mediating effect on the relation between individual characteristics and women and men's behavior in paid work, unpaid work and relative earning capacity in the presence of children or in the event of a childbirth. The thesis is made up by six chapters; the first is devoted to a discussion of welfare and gender regimes that are referred to extensively in the literature review and in the empirical chapters. Then I review the main findings in the literature regarding gender differences in paid work, domestic chores and earnings, and their relation with parenthood. From these I draw my hypotheses. In chapter two, I introduce the data and the methods, although a discussion of these is also included in each empirical chapter. Chapters three to five report the analyses and the findings: in chapter three I analyze the relation between paid work and parenthood in four European countries; in chapter four, multi-level models are applied to 23 European states to investigate to what extent the presence of children is associated with the division of domestic chores within couples, and whether the association varies by country; in chapter five, I use multi-level models first and fixed effects panel models afterwards using data from 26 European countries to test, firstly, the association between parenthood and relative earnings of couples, and secondly the effect of child birth on the earnings' balance of couples. Finally, in chapter six I draw some concluding remarks on my findings. Arguing that gender inequality is rooted in households, the dissertation contributes greater understanding of couple’s intimate household inequality as opposed to merely societal level male-female differences. Focusing on the role of children in promoting gender specialization, the dissertation points to the distinctive circumstances of mothers and fathers, as opposed to women and men (or married women and men) more generally. It elaborates on the role of particular correlates of inequality outcomes, such as education of partners. It works to identify cross-national similarities and differences in the levels of gender inequality as well as in the effects of individual-level predictors.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Sociology and Social Research (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:XXV
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/07 SOCIOLOGIA GENERALE
Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/09 SOCIOLOGIA DEI PROCESSI ECONOMICI E DEL LAVORO
Uncontrolled Keywords:Division of labor; gender equality; intra-household allocation; Europe; EU-SILC data; housework; motherhood penalty.
Repository Staff approval on:30 Apr 2013 11:57

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