Mark C. Berger, Dan A. Black, Amitabh Chandra, Frank A. Scott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the spirit of Polachek (1975) and the later work of Becker (1985) on the role of specialization within the family, we examine the relationship between fringe benefits and the division of labor within a married household. The provision of fringe benefits is complicated by their non-additive nature within the household, as well as IRS regulations that stipulate that they be offered in a non-discriminatory manner in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. We model family decisions within a framework in which one spouse specializes in childcare and as a result experiences a reduction in market productive capacity. Our model predicts that the forces toward specialization become stronger as the number of children increase, so that the spouse specializing in childcare will have some combination of lower wages, hours worked, and fringe benefits. We demonstrate that to the extent that labor markets are incomplete, the family is less likely to obtain health insurance from the employer of the spouse that specializes in childcare. Using data from the April 1993 CPS we find evidence consistent with our model.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorker Well-Being and Public Policy
Number of pages41
StatePublished - 2003

Publication series

NameResearch in Labor Economics
ISSN (Print)0147-9121

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) grant R01 HS08188. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of AHRQ. We are grateful to Sol Polachek, Julie Hotchkiss, Donna Gilleskie, Steve Woodbury and participants at the 1997 Winter Meetings of the Econometric Society and the 1999 Annual Meetings of the Southern Economic Association for helpful comments and discussions.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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