Couples in the UK Labour Market: Labour Supply And Sociological Interpretation of Women's Strategies

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A Research Report on UK Male/Female Couples and Their Decisions about Paid Work Time, in Hours Per Week: Richer Couples Work More Hours, and Tenants Work Fewer Hours, on Average (Work In Progress)

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  • 1. DYADIC MODELS FOR THE SOCIOLOGY OF LABOUR: STRENGTHS, LIMITS AND EMPIRICAL FINDINGS Wendy Olsen 2014 University of Manchester Cathie Marsh Centre / Applied Social Research PhD Pathway (NWDTC) [Social statistics discipline area] 1

2. RESEARCH QUESTIONS What is the best way to use dyadic models for examining work patterns of men and women in the UK 2004-2014? What empirical findings emerge from a socio- economic model of this kind, and from related demi- regularities observed in panel data? 2 3. METHODS Pluralist theory Regression Equations, 2 per household, Xf variables for women and Xm variables for men, with Z variables as shared household level characteristics Descriptive statistics, change over time, line graphs, averages, factor analysis of gender-related division of labour attitudes, test of whether this differs from men to women in the couples, this is a controlled test and not generalizable to the UK as a whole Linkage of labour sector with finance/debt 3 4. 4 5. SELECTION OF CASES AND DATA The British Household Panel Survey + Understanding Society series 2004-2011/12 Age limit was set in the starting year Couples living together were analysed (all but one were heterosexual in that period) N 2327 for 2004/7 Variables Include: House value and whether it is mortgaged Rented house vs. owning the house Hours worked for pay, main job, combined with second job if any, including self employed people Demographic variables Attitudes about gender and work (Brockmann, Crompton and Lyonette) 1 factor using CFA 5 6. 6 7. PLURALITY OF THEORIES Socio-economic approach Theory of human capital has strengths & weaknesses, reflects only 2-3 causal mechanisms Realist approach suggests we augment with a series of other theoretical components Try to ensure not inconsistent or incoherent; appreciate the tensions and dialectics.E.g.: Sickness less paid work, but also causes the partner either to earn more (work more) or to work less in order to compensate on the household work front 7 8. PLURALITY OF THEORIES Additional theoretical and causal hypotheses Age-related choices about work-time- hours of paid work decline in the aggregate over the years 50 onward, and in personal ife this change is sudden but may take 2 steps: FT to PT then PT to 0 paid hours FT to 0 then 0 to PT paid hours (intensity, involvement) Life stage crucial to labour supply Number of children, * gender of worker Men work more with little kids at home (USA; EU) Others as well, e.g. control for region If we reflect labour DEMAND does that concede NCE? 8 9. RESULTS FOR 2004-7 BEFORE RECESSION 9 10. 10 11. RESULTS FOR 2007-2011 PERIOD DURING RECESSION Introduction In this period the financialisation grew but the expected future house prices fell, and the degree of house rental rose considerably. We would expect work hours to decline due to lower labour supply from these new renters Offsetting factors might arise from lack of debt opportunities Here we see debt opportunities as a capability. Actual debt stock is a burden and raises LS. Gendered and depends upon life stage. Debt opportunities are more unequal now due to shrinkage of the supply of credit to consumers. Empirical Results A further control for decline in labour-hours demanded is introduced using regional dummies Strongly regionalised recession in UK, strongest in NE and outlying regions, less so in London 11 12. STRENGTHS OF DYADIC METHOD Non-individualistic Relates easily to multi-level modelling of all the household members, and to social network analysis of their interactions Supports interdisciplinary research which uses falsification methods on mini-hypotheses Gives insights both expected and unexpected Supports retroduction: WHY these DATA patterns? 12 13. SPECIAL HYPOTHESIS TEST FOR PAIRS Is the best fit found for the symmetry model or asymmetry? In asymmetry, is the direct correlation aproach better than the indirect approach? In panel, do the results persist? 2004-7 yes 2007-2011 we retroduce from what we find 2010-2015 the debt/asset context will change further 13 14. CONTRAST WITH ECONOMICS Economists are putting the wage in the womans hours-equation. Her wage or education influences her work-time upward ---- human capital theory ---- verification of the hypothesis ignores the debt/asset mechanisms. The mans wage (or education, as proxy) also goes into a womans work-time regression. This one is found to have a negative coefficient in USA (needs testing for other countries) Growth in the stay-at-home Mother phenomenon is labelled in a sexist way Avoiding unemployment and employment is called inactivity and dependency which are also dismissive : should be domestic work or householding (male&female) 14 15. WEAKNESSES OF DYADIC METHOD The method does not do anything. It is a black box, as are most regression methods. Dont reify the results; they still have three biases: Omitted variable bias, no model is complete. Endogeneity bias, notably from gender and income through other variables into pay which feeds into working hours by encouraging people, and is correlated with education =we admit collinearity =in panel I admit multicollinearity Overall tendency to verificationism of the big causal model which is a sociologically-expanded RAM with household-level Strategies. (RAM=Rational action model) 15 16. CONCLUSIONS People depend on each other in mutual support within households, and this is affected by gender roles/expectations/norms and by the life-stage, age and other demographics. Economic trends create underlying causes of change, in this case, demand for labour fell and net asset values fell, which in offsetting ways raised the work hours of poor people but caused a decline and a tendency to stay-at-home mothers among the people with most assets & most human capital, during the recession. Some renters however are relieved of overtime and long hours, notably men, unlike UK home owners in this decade. (cf Philps) 16