The gender relationship, characterised to a high degree by the gender-specific division of labour into paid work and housework, is in the process of change. In Germany, however, housework continues to be considered a typically female chore. The present study considers the empirical relevance of three theoretical approaches to gender-specific time allocation from the economic and social sciences. The various models are assessed using the Socioeconomic Panel (SOEP) for the year 2000. The estimation results imply that no single theory can be favoured as opposed to any other. Accordingly, prevalent approaches to the explanation of household division of labour are at the same time equally suited and unsuited to grasping the problem empirically. A person's individual housework time is determined by both economic and ideological characteristics. Following on from the evaluation of different theories, an approach is evaluated which simultaneously takes individual work time and paid work time into account. This integrative evaluation shows that the economic rational choice model finds only limited application in the area of private households, thus pointing to the necessity for an interdisciplinary treatment of the subject.
time allocation household division of labour SOEP data