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March 11th 2021, 13:00-14:00: Melanie Borah (Universität Magdeburg): “The invisible homemaker – Who values household work and by how much?”

Abstract: While extended definitions of households’ material wellbeing are gaining importance in national accounts as well as welfare distribution and poverty analyses, the evaluation of the proceeds from household production remains a major challenge to researchers. The present paper contributes to a new strand in the literature that uses subjective wellbeing data to estimate the value of time spent on non-market activities. Using 16 waves of SOEP data for childless couples living in Germany, I try to uncover the value assigned to household work by comparing its effect on individuals’ living standards satisfaction with that of household income. I account for the ordinal nature of living standards satisfaction in fixed-effects regressions employing the Blow-up-and-Cluster estimator. The results suggest that total household work time does not have a significant effect on satisfaction with living standards. Differentiating between individuals’ own and their partner’s household work time shows that own household work has a significantly positive effect on satisfaction, whereas the partner’s efforts do not. This effect is largely driven by women. This together with the finding that women’s’ household work seems to be evaluated positively only if carried out on weekdays raises the question of social norm effects.