The relationship between work and family preferences and behaviors: A longitudinal study of gender differences in Sweden
2016 (English)In: Acta Sociologica, ISSN 0001-6993, E-ISSN 1502-3869Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Proposed theories to explain gender inequality in the labor market and family, such as gender specialization within families and gender segregation in the labor markets, lack consideration for individual preferences. Preference theory accounts for individual choice and gendered preferences but has been substantially criticized, indicating a need for further research. This study uses Swedish longitudinal data to explore how preferences for work and family relate to behavior. We explore three critical issues raised in previous research: gender differences in preferences; the relationship between work and family changes and subsequent preferences; how preferences relate to work and family behaviors. Our results showed small general gender differences in preferences, although women had a stronger preference for both children and work than men. Changes in work status were further related to changes in work preferences, while changes in family status were related to changes in family preferences. Moreover, preferences had poor predictive power in relation to work and family behaviors. Our results indicate that preferences do not explain gender inequality in Sweden. The relationship between preferences and behaviors seems bidirectional and preferences and behavior within the family sphere has little to do with preferences and behavior within the work sphere.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gender, family, labor market, preferences, longitudinal, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-124668DOI: 10.1177/0001699316659322OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-124668DiVA: diva2:954237