Childbirth, household labor division and gender equality : evidence from ten European countries
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- Master Thesis 
As couples transition into parenthood, they can face adjustments in terms of the labor division of standard household tasks. In this thesis, we analyze a selection of ten European countries utilizing a Regression Discontinuity-like approach and assess whether households experience any significant shift in relative standard housework shares. We exploit data obtained by the Generations and Gender Program to compare heterosexual couples that have just given birth to their first child to those who are about to do so and look at work sharing on seven different household tasks. We find mixed evidence: when we consider a very narrow time window around the event of birth, our estimates suggest that couples share tasks more equally in the time after birth. On the other hand, when switching to a broader bandwidth of 48 months, birth effects fade out as there are no significant estimates and, if anything, trends in the data suggest a gradual deepening of the gendered housework labor division as time passes. We relate our findings to both measured labor market outcomes and descriptive statistics on childcare and expand the analysis by running a heterogeneity check of our estimates by first splitting the sample according to geographical region and subsequently according to the relative education levels between the partners. We fail to find heterogeneous effects for the latter, while the regional analysis shows that the results are sensitive to which countries we consider. Furthermore, mothers reduce their employment and hours supplied to paid work relative to childless women. Lastly, fathers show an increased probability of labor force participation in the period after childbirth.