Time Allocation and the Life Cycle of Women and Men in Poland

Time Allocation and the Life Cycle of Women and Men in Poland

Anna Zachorowska-Mazurkiewicz, Katarzyna Mroczek
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8611-3.ch015
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The way people spend time determines the quality of their lives. Work takes a significant share of the time we have at our disposal. The allocation of time between paid and unpaid work depends on gender as well as age, and it influences women's and men's opportunities. This chapter analyses the allocation of women's and men's time between paid and unpaid work in the context of life-cycle. In the first part, economic theories concerning decision making processes about how to allocate time between market work and household are presented. The allocation of women's and men's time in distinguished age groups in Poland is analysed in the second part of the chapter. The analysis is based on time use data from research conducted by Central Statistical Office in years 2003-2004. The last part presents the logistic function that allows to determine estimated maxima of women's and men's activities both in paid and unpaid work. The analysis confirmed that time allocation depends both on gender and life-cycle.
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In 1960s New Home Economics a new approach within neoclassical economics developed. Representatives of this approach tried to analyse the gender division of labour in the home. This division is largely explained by the comparative advantage model, which argues that marriage provides economic gains to both partners. Through marriage, men and women can specialize and exchange, leading to maximization of their total bundle of goods and services – those produced in the market as well as those produced at home (Becker, 1973). In this way the discussed approach offers the explanation why women specialize in home-based goods and services. Family members specialize in the paid labour or in domestic labour in accordance with their relative productivities in those sectors. In a household of identical individuals no more than one person will contribute time to both paid labour in the market and household work, the dual contributor being equally productive in the two sectors. To maximize household output those who are more productive than the dual contributor in the market sector will specialize there, while those who are more productive at home will become specialized domestic workers. Constant or increasing returns to scale in the production of household commodities raise the payoff to specialization and each member will specialize in one sector only. To identify who will specialize in the paid labour market, and hence who will be the altruistic head of the household, biological sex must be introduced. Women are defined as having a comparative advantage in household work because of their role in the reproductive process (Hewitson, 2003, p. 269). According to Gillian Hewitson (2003) in new home economics firstly, women’s roles as the unpaid workers within the households are functions of their biology, and hence they become an aspect of their identity – they are biologically motivated to care about others. Secondly, unpaid labour is an activity that women undertake for their own self-interest, to enable the household to maximize the total output.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Unpaid Labour: Is divided into domestic work, care work and work for local community.

Gender Division of Labour: Involvement of women and men in paid and unpaid labour.

Logistic Function: Can model the “S-shaped” behavior, graphs of logistic functions look like a stretched S-shape and are increasing or decreasing between two horizontal lines.

Life-Cycle: The stages of life determined by age and involvement in different activities like paid labour or care.

Time-Use Studies: Are a theoretical construct that serve to measure the distribution of time between different activities.

Paid Labour: Includes main and additional work, which consisted of employment, running a business or a farm.

Gender: A socially assigned role to women or men that attributes social meaning to biological differences between sexes.

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