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AEA Papers and Proceedings

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marriage, housekeeping, wage differentials, wages


Labor and Employment Law | Law


While the popular press may have declared housework passe with the advent of the two-income household (see "Housework is Obsolescent" by Barbara Ehrenreich [1993] for one such example), the facts indicate that housework continues to consume a substantial amount of time, particularly for women. While estimates vary widely depending on the sample examined and the methods used to generate the information, representative values of housework time range around 6-14 hours per week for men and 20-30 hours for women. Since wages are likely to be influenced both directly and indirectly by the time and effort devoted to other activities, and since gender differences in household responsibilities are significant and often assumed to be a driving force behind gender earnings differentials, decisions regarding the overall amount of time spent on housework and the division of that time within the household are important ones. The goal of this paper is to shed some light on these allocation decisions.



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