Male breadwinning revisited: how specialisation, gender role attitudes and work characteristics affect overwork and underwork in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External organisations

  • University of Bern
  • University of Basel


We examine how male breadwinning and fatherhood relate to men’s overwork and underwork in western Europe. Male breadwinners should be less likely to experience overwork than other men, particularly when they have children, if specialising in paid work suits them. However, multinomial logistic regression analysis of the European Social Survey data from 2010 (n = 4662) challenges this position: male breadwinners, with and without children, want to work fewer than their actual hours, making visible one of the downsides of specialisation. Male breadwinners wanting to work fewer hours is specifically related to the job interfering with family life, as revealed by a comparison of the average marginal effects of variables across models. Work–life interference has an effect over and beyond the separate effects of work characteristics and family structure, showing the salience of the way work and life articulate.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-356
Issue number2
Early online date26 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • fatherhood , hours constraints , hours mismatch , male breadwinners , overwork , underwork , working hours , work-life conflict