Get access

Persistent Policy Effects on the Division of Domestic Tasks in Reunified Germany


School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, Cornwallis Building NE, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NF, United Kingdom (


We are only beginning to unravel the mechanisms by which the division of domestic tasks varies in its sociopolitical context. Selecting couples from the German SocioEconomic Panel who married between 1990 and 1995 in the former East and West regions of Germany and following them until 2000 (N= 348 couples), I find evidence of direct, interaction, and contextual effects predicting husbands’ hours in and share of household tasks but not child care. East German men perform a greater share of household tasks than West German men after controlling for individual attributes and regional factors. Child care remains more gendered, and the first child’s age proves the most important predictor of fathers’ involvement. These findings further our understanding of how the state shapes gender equity in the home.