A shock is not enough. The persistence of gender inequality in childcare among Italian couples during the Great Recession

Annalisa Donno, University of Padova
Maria Letizia Tanturri, University of Padova

In Italy, the Great Recession had a larger detrimental impact on men’s employment than on women’s. This paper is aimed to understand if the changes in the labor market have fostered less traditional schemes of childcare negotiation between partners, in a de-gendered scenario. The paper relies on a sample of coupled parents from the Italian Time Use survey carried out during the early phases of the economic downturn (2008-09) and when its effects are more evident (2014-15). A Dynamic Hamming Approach to Sequence Analysis allows to identify diverse couples’ schemes of working time and different patterns of childcare. A logit model estimates which pattern of childcare (less intense/more intense) is more likely to be adopted by the couples identified with the sequence analysis. Results shows that the Recession had a deep impact on the way partners organize their working time, but less on childcare. The new couple typologies (female breadwinner/desynchronized workers and couples where none of the partners works) are in fact more likely to adopt a less intense and slightly more shared model of childcare than the traditional male breadwinner one. However, this great shock was not sufficient to foster new, generalized de-gendered behaviors in the division of childcare.

Keywords: Time use surveys, Gender, Family demography

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 190. Post-Shock Gender Dynamics