A woman's average gross hourly wage is 16.3 per cent lower than that of her partner when the pattern of task-sharing is more traditional. However, the female partner receives an average advantage of 6.6 per cent when the traditional roles are reversed. Both a positive age difference between the man and the woman and the existence of children are shown to support a more traditional specialisation. In the context of an economically motivated division of tasks, we analyse the extent to which the household member with the higher gross hourly wage spends more time at professional work and/or less time in household tasks than the other. When economic considerations underlying the division of tasks, the earnings gap between the woman and her partner averages 25.8 per cent. Econometric estimates show that existing wage differentials between the partners support economically motivated specialisation. Since women’s gross hourly wages are on average lower than their partners’, an economically motivated division of tasks often coincides with gender-specific specialisation. Economic considerations of couples can therefore reinforce a more traditional allocation of responsibilities that are already adopted before the birth of the first child.