Discussion paper

DP13769 Economic incentives, childcare and gender identity norms

This paper investigates the role of gender identity norms in shaping men's and women's time allocation, based on observed behavior following a change in the market penalty for adopting prescriptive norms. To perform this test, we study the reallocation of childcare across parents, following changes in their relative take-home pay. Exploiting variation from Swedish tax reforms, we estimate the elasticity of substitution in parental childcare for natives and immigrants from a variety of countries, characterized by varying gender norms. We find that couples originating from countries with relatively conservative norms are more likely to reallocate childcare across spouses following a reduction in the husband's tax rate, and less likely to reallocate childcare following a reduction in the wife's tax rate, thereby reinforcing a traditional allocation of childcare across parents.


Ichino, A, M Olsson, B Petrongolo and P Thoursie (2019), ‘DP13769 Economic incentives, childcare and gender identity norms‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13769. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13769