Social Welfare Regimes and the Division of Household Labor

Makiko Fuwa, University of California, Irvine

This study examines the effect of women's employment on the division of housework in countries with different types of social welfare regimes. Using Chang's (2000) social welfare regime typology, we test whether regimes mediate the impact of women's employment on the division of housework between husbands and wives, using data from the 1994 International Social Survey Programme from 11 industrialized countries. Consistent with our hypotheses, we find that the "substantive-egalitarian" social welfare regimes (e.g., Sweden) have the most egalitarian overall divisions of household labor within married couples, but the effect of women's employment is not as strong there as it is in the formal-egalitarian regimes (e.g., U.S.A.). The traditional family-centered countries (e.g., Japan) show the least egalitarian household division of labor and very weak effects of wives' employment on that division of labor. Wives' housework responsibilities in those countries are relatively insensitive to their employment status.

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Presented in Session 155: Comparative Perspectives on Couples' Paid and Unpaid Work