Family Restrictions at Work

Open Access       

Authors: Enriqueta Aragonès

Economies, Vol. 12, No 5, 101, May, 2024

This paper analyzes one of the causes of the current gender-unbalanced situation in the labor market: the discrimination that individuals face at work due to their commitment to unpaid care work. It aims at finding mechanisms that may induce a change from the current unbalanced situation to a world in which males and females are found in more equal shares in all professions and at all levels. I construct a formal model that includes the heterogeneity of individuals regarding their family commitments and I investigate how it affects the individual’s optimal labor market participation. The welfare of individuals with commitment to family duties is reduced for two different reasons: for not being able to participate as much in the labor market and thus receive a lower labor income and for not being able to contribute as much to their family commitments. I compare the results for the female and male sections of the society and I illustrate the observed gender gaps in terms of labor market participation, income levels, and the overall utility obtained. I find that even though the gender wage gap may be alleviated with reductions in the cost associated to unpaid care work, the gender utility gap will persist

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 1429