Time on housework and selection into and out of relationships in Australia: A multiprocess, multilevel approach


  • Michele Haynes Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland
  • Janeen Baxter Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland
  • Belinda Hewitt Institute for Social Science Research & School of Social Science, The University of Queensland
  • Mark Western Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland




Multiprocess Models, Multilevel Models, Domestic Labour, Marital Transitions, Self-selection


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  relationship transitions.