Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 7-27

Household structure and housework: assessing the contributions of all household members, with a focus on children and youths

  • Jonathan GershunyAffiliated withCentre for Time Use Research, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford
  • , Oriel SullivanAffiliated withCentre for Time Use Research, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford Email author 

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Most research into the division of household domestic labor focuses on couple households, treating other household members such as children/youths and other adults as independent variables affecting the domestic work of husbands and wives. We present an integrated analysis of variance/variance decomposition that summarizes the determinants of the housework contributions of, and the housework burden imposed by, all the individuals in four common household types, with a focus on the contributions of older children and youths. We demonstrate the importance of statistical interactions between the contributions of different household members (distinguished by partnership status, gender, and the ages and genders of children/youths), in particular for those households containing children/youths. We conclude that in order to analyze the contributions of all household members jointly, it is necessary to distinguish different household compositions for separate analysis.


Household housework Division of household labour Whole household analyses Children’s contributions to housework

JEL Classifications

D13 J12 J16 Z13