- Retirement and Changes in Housework: A Panel Study of Dual Earner Couples
- The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
- Volume | Issue number
- 73 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
To examine how transitions to retirement influenced the division of household labor in dual earner couples. We tested hypotheses about changes (a) between a couple’s preretirement and postretirement stage and (b) across the transitional phase during which both spouses retired.
We estimated fixed-effects models for the effects of the husband’s and the wife’s retirement on changes in their hours and share of routine housework. The data came from 29 waves of the German Socio-economic Panel Study, comprising N = 31,040 annual observations of N = 3,288 dual earner couples aged 45 to 75 years.
Spouses who retired first performed more housework, whereas their partners who continued working performed less. This occurred irrespective of the retirement sequence. Husbands who retired first doubled up on their share of housework, but never performed more than 40% of a couple’s total hours. None of the observed shifts were permanent. After both spouses had retired, couples reverted to their preretirement division of housework.
Although the findings on changes after retirement support the time availability hypothesis, gender construction theories still take precedence in explaining the division of household labor over the life course.
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