Program > Papers by author > Couprie Hélène

Monday 12
A4 - Gender & Discrimination
Chair: Francesca Barigozzi
› 11:30 - 11:55 (25min)
› Room 005 - E. Jaques-Dalcroze
What if women earned more than their spouses ? An experimental investigation of work-division in couples
Hélène Couprie  1@  , François Cochard  2@  , Astrid Hopfensitz  3@  
1 : Centre de Recherche sur l'Emploi et les Qualifications  (Cereq)
2 : Centre de recherche sur les stratégies économiques  (CRESE)  -  Website
30 avenue de l'observatoire, 25000 Besançon -  France
3 : Toulouse School of Economics  (TSE)  -  Website
Toulouse School of Economics
Manufacture de Tabacs, 21 allées de Brienne 31000 Toulouse -  France

Female specialization on household work and male specialization on labor-market work is a widely
observed phenomenon across time and countries. This absence of gender neutrality with respect to workdivision
is known as the “work-division puzzle”. Gender differences regarding characteristics
(preferences, productivity) and context (wage rates, social norms) are generally recognized as competing
explanations for this fact. We experimentally control for context and productivity to investigate
preferences for work-division by true co-habiting couples, in a newly developed specialization task.
Efficiency in this task comes at the cost of inequality, giving higher earnings to the “advantaged” player.
We compare behavior when men (or women) are in the advantaged position, which corresponds to the
traditional (or power) couple case where he (or she) earns more. We show that women do not contribute
more than men to the household public good whatever the situation. This result allows us to rule out some
of the standard explanations of the work-division puzzle.

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