Discussion Paper no. 03-07


On the basis of the 1998 General Social Survey on Time Use, the relative participation in paid and unpaid work of partners in a household is classified into three types: complementary wherein one partner, usually the wife, does more unpaid work while the other partner does more paid work; double burden wherein one partner does more unpaid work while doing more or the same amount of paid work; and shared roles wherein both partners do about the same amount unpaid work. Couples who are cohabiting, and couples where both partners are working fulltime, have a higher likelihood of both shared roles and double burdens, compared to complementary roles. Shared roles are less common at older ages, with lower levels of education, and for those with higher religiosity. Double-burdens are more common when there are no children, also less common in rural areas, but more common in communities where there is a low proportion of immigrants.