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1 Cooperation and conflict within couples: The gendered distribution of entitlement to household income GeNet Conference, Cambridge 26-27 March 2009 Jérôme.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Cooperation and conflict within couples: The gendered distribution of entitlement to household income GeNet Conference, Cambridge 26-27 March 2009 Jérôme."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Cooperation and conflict within couples: The gendered distribution of entitlement to household income GeNet Conference, Cambridge March 2009 Jérôme De Henau and Susan Himmelweit

2 2 Motivation Entitlements: legitimate command over resources that give rise to opportunities (Sen) Indicator of autonomy (current or future) Cooperative-conflict model: –mutual interest in cooperation to increase household resources –but still can be conflict of interest about division of resources Our aim; Capture gendered effects Identify determinants of entitlements

3 3 Change in male and female answers to satisfaction with household income Man loses his job both dissatisfied (woman less so than man) Woman loses her job both dissatisfied too, but less so (man much less so than woman) Young child woman more dissatisfied than man

4 4 Why such gender differences? Different personality traits and attitudes to change Different valuation of money (trade-off with other domains such as leisure, social life) Different entitlements, access to underlying resources and burden of costs because of different –Perceived contributions (what each member brings into the household and how it is valued) –Perceived fall-back positions in case cooperation breaks down –Perceptions of interest (e.g. individualistic versus family-based) All these aspects can be gendered (influence of gender norms)

5 5 Our model Among other factors, satisfaction is influenced by entitlements –Household entitlements (interest in cooperation) –Relative entitlements (where interests conflict) Entitlements (both elements) are influenced by –Variables that affect current and future resources –Individual variables can have different impact according to gender Our aim: disentangling gendered and non-gendered determinants of household and relative entitlements

6 6 Method Use BHPS data –Panel data enables us to strip out effects of unobserved time- invariant factors (such as personality traits) –Linear fixed effects –Pooled ordered benchmark for comparison Two dependent variables –average of scores of satisfaction: impact in same direction interpreted as impact on household entitlements –difference in scores of satisfaction: impact in different direction interpreted as impact on relative entitlements

7 7 Method Control for overall satisfaction with life (to focus on financial aspects of entitlements and avoid trade-offs between different domains) Examples of explanatory variables are income level, income source, employment status, earning share, potential wage, housework time and presence of young children Some of these variables are household level, some individual

8 8 Gendered pattern Individual factors that affect entitlements may do so in symmetric and gendered ways for both cooperation and conflict Cooperation can be achieved by partners adopting roles that are partially symmetric and partially gendered: –e.g. valuing both partners employment but putting more weight on the man's than the womans Similarly for the conflictual element –e.g. if being the higher earner gives either greater entitlement but has more effect for one sex than the other

9 9 Cooperative aspects of entitlements Variables that affect this: Household level: –Household income (+), investment income (+), House ownership (+), Children aged 0-4 (-) Individual level (symmetric): –human capital (+), full-time employment (+), poor health (-), housework hours (-) Individual level (gendered): –woman higher earner (+), man unemployed (-), man long-term disabled (­)

10 10 Conflictual aspects of entitlements Household level: –Household receives transfer income (woman +/man -) –Children aged 0-4 (woman -/man +) Individual level (symmetric): –Full-time employment (+); Unemployment and disability (-) poor health (-); Hours of housework (-) Individual level (gendered): –Higher earner (+ for woman)

11 11 Reflections Not only division of current resources matters –future autonomy/security is also reflected in partners assessment of their current situation Conflictual aspects a challenge to income pooling and unitary models Perceptions matter need to explore gender norms Both direct and indirect gender effects need exploration: –direct: some variables have directly gendered effects –Indirect: distribution of variables that matter (employment, earnings, caring responsibilities, etc.) is gendered

12 12 Conclusion Households both create and reinforce gender inequalities This is true of cooperative as well as conflictual aspects: –doing what is best for joint interests may influence relative entitlements eg more weight on male employment –togetherness may undermine autonomy Model that can be applied to: –other countries and with additional explanatory factors (e.g. external factors and gender norms) –extended to other domains of entitlement (such as time and social life) Refine model by accounting for interdependence and relational aspects of care in Sens model


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