The results of previous studies on the effect of childbearing on both parents’ paid and unpaid work suffer from the difficulty related to the specification of latent variables that influence the relationship between reproductive behaviour of the couple and working activity. The aim of this study is to estimate the effect of transition to parenthood on the partners’ division of labour by accounting for latent variables, such as the bargaining process between partners and endogenous fertility decisions. In particular, this is the first time that our specific estimation strategy has been applied to determine the impact of childbearing on the division of household labour between partners taking into account the reverse causality effect between labour and fertility decisions. We use longitudinal data on married or cohabiting Italian couples provided by the Italian panel survey of the Generation and Gender Program. Our results are consistent with previous studies, and show that the birth of a child affects a woman’s unpaid labour strongly and positively and her paid labour negatively, while men’s work is mostly unaffected. Moreover, when partners hold traditional attitudes regarding gender roles and the family, the female partner is even more strongly affected by childbearing in terms of total amount of labour (paid plus unpaid). However, our sensitivity analysis shows that these results appear only when our correction strategy for the misspecification of latent variables is applied.
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