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In this paper we investigate the impact of relationship transitions on domestic labour time using longitudinal data from eight waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia(HILDA) survey. Although there is a growing body of literature on this topic, previous research has failed to adequately address selection issues relating to transitions in marital status and time on housework. A simultaneous-equations model is used to jointly examine the relationships between time on housework and marital status transitions to allow for correlation between unobserved partner and person characteristics that impact on each process. Our results show that women who transitioned from being single into marriage spend more time on housework than women who transitioned from single to cohabiting. Additionally, we find that women who spend more time on housework when single also spend more time on housework after cohabitation or marriage. But there is no evidence of selection of these women into marriage rather than cohabitation. We also found no evidence to support the hypothesis that women who do varying amounts of housework are more likely to select out of relationships. Overall we conclude that the unobserved factors influencing time spent on housework are not related to the unobserved factors influencing relationshiptransitions.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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