In this paper we examine the impact of the interviewer’s gender on respondents’ self-reported share of housework in telephone interviews. Due to a discrepancy between modern, egalitarian gender roles dominating public discussion and men’s marginal participation in housework we expect male respondents to answer in a socially desirable way and exaggerate their share of housework vis à vis female interviewers. At the same time, we assume that female respondents underreport their contribution to the couple’s housework to female interviewers. The effects of the interviewer’s gender should be less strong in case of female respondents than in case of male respondents, though. Additionally, theory suggests that young and educated respondents are particularly susceptible to effects of the interviewer’s gender as they are most aware of egalitarian gender roles due to their socialization and environment. For male respondents the results are largely consistent with the expectations. However, the effect of the interviewer’s gender varies stronger by age than by education. Regarding female respondents the results do not indicate any significant effects across age groups and educational degrees. Overall, the results show that social desirability may also bias self-reports of everyday behaviour. Moreover, interviewer effects vary considerably between different social groups.
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