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Parent Care as Unpaid Family Labor: How Do Spouses Share?


London School of Economics, Department of Sociology, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom (


The study adapts theories of the household division of labor to the division of parent care between spouses and expands them by taking the kin relationship with the parent and the intensity of care into account. Tobit and weighted logit models are used to analyze the division of parent care in 2,214 couples from the British General Household Surveys. The models revealed patterns of parent care that are predominantly governed by the kin relationship. Time availability was strongly associated with couples' division of parent care, whereas the resource-bargaining approach received little support except for dual-earner couples that provided more intensive care for the husband's parents. Children-in-law's characteristics were hardly related to the division of high-intensity caregiving in dual-earner couples.