Volume 40 - Article 3 | Pages 49–60  

Stability and change in family time transfers and workload inequality in Italian couples

By Marina Zannella, Alessandra De Rose


Objective: This article analyses changes from 2003 to 2014 in the magnitude and directions of family time (i.e., non-market) transfers and in the gender distribution of total work among Italian couples.

Methods: The study draws on microdata from the 2003, 2009, and 2014 Italian Time Use Surveys. First, we follow the National Transfer Accounts methodology to estimate gender-specific age profiles of production and consumption of unpaid domestic work and of the related time transfers within families. Then, we focus on couples and build an indicator of workload inequality. Finally, we perform a multivariate statistical analysis to describe the characteristics of the partners associated with gender inequality in the division of work disfavouring women.

Results: Female non-market work decreased by an average of 36 minutes per day during the 2003–2014 period. However, women continue to be net donors of time transfers within the family and to perform the bulk of the work within the couple. Households where both partners do not work in the market or where only the woman has a market job show the highest levels of inequality, with women contributing to about 70% of the couples’ total working time.

Contribution: This study sheds light on the provision of informal welfare within Italian families by illustrating, with an age- and gender-specific focus, the recent evolution of time transfers. It also contributes to the literature on the gender division of work both by introducing a new indicator of the workload inequality between partners, and by providing further evidence of the persistency of gender asymmetries in Italian couples.

Author's Affiliation

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