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Men's Unpaid Work and Divorce: Reassessing Specialization and Trade in British Families.

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Sigle-Rushton, Wendy.
Journal Article
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Economists have spent a good deal of time examining and trying to explain the positive association between female employment and divorce. However, in doing so, they have paid very little attention to the behavior of men. This paper addresses that oversight. Using data from the 1970 British Cohort Study - a study conducted at a time when gendered specialization was the normative household arrangement for families with small children and when economic theories of marriage and divorce were first being developed - this study considers whether and how fathers' contributions to unpaid work are associated with divorce. Information on fathers' involvement in domestic work and childcare permits a deeper exploration of the relationship between mother's employment and divorce. Contrary to what gains from specialization and trade predict, the findings suggest that fathers' home production stabilizes marriage regardless of mothers' employment statuses.

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