Division of Domestic Labor Over Retirement Among Older Couples in Korea

Erin Hye-Won Kim , National University of Singapore
Changjun Lee, University College Dublin

Despite its significant implications, little is known about how the provision of domestic labor changes over retirement among older adults in developed Asian countries, where populations are aging rapidly and expectations for traditional gender-roles are still prevalent. To fill the gap, we examine housework and care provided by Korean couples aged 50 or above, using data from the 2012, 2014, and 2016 waves of the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families. Couple fixed-effects regressions estimate the effects of the husband’s and the wife’s respective retirement on the labor provided by both spouses. Results show that, among couples aged 50-64, retirement increased the retiree’s housework and reduced that of the spouse regardless of the retiree’s sex. However, the size of these effects was small, which led to continuity in the gendered division of the labor. Implications are drawn regarding older adults’ martial well-being in Korea and other gendered Asian countries.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions