Frisch seminar: Maria Laura Di Tommaso, Università degli Studi di Torino

Do men care? Men's supply of unpaid labour.

(With Leif Andreassen, Anna Maccagnan)


This paper aims to measure men’s capability to provide unpaid work, considering both childcare and housework. The definition of capability is based on Sen’s Capability Approach which points out the importance of studying what people are free to do and to be (the capability sets), rather than what they do and who they are (the achieved functionings). In order to operationalizing the Capability Approach, we use random scale modelling. The use of random scale modelling within the Capability Approach framework represents an advancement in the literature related to work and family and has two main implications. First, it allows us to study whether and to what extent men are restricted in their freedom of providing unpaid and paid work and we describe their restrictions; second, we analyze men’s preferences in combining different levels of paid and unpaid work, given their capability sets.

The dataset used is the Spanish sample of the Multinational Time Use Survey (MTUS), a cross-country harmonised set of time use surveys composed of comparably recoded variables.

Our findings suggest that even though men do relatively little childcare, it is important to them. So men do care to care. Our estimates show that only about 14% (or 21% in another specification) of men are totally unrestricted in their capability sets. 56% (or 36%) are restricted to provide little time to unpaid work. Our estimates suggest that both individual, household and institutional variables are important drivers in shaping restrictions and preferences. In particular, we find that higher regional male unemployment rates increase men’s restriction in paid work and that men married to low educated women are more likely to be restricted into the low time unpaid work group. On the contrary, highly educated men prefer to spend more time in childcare and domestic work.

Published Jan. 14, 2015 1:46 PM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2015 10:35 AM