Does housework matter anymore? The shifting impact of housework on economic inequality
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In recent years, American women’s housework time has declined while American men’s housework time has risen. We examine how these changes have affected economic inequality in the United States. Using time-diary data from the Time Use in Economic and Social Accounts, 1975–1976 (N = 1,484) and the American Time Use Survey, 2003 (N = 5,534), we value adults’ housework using two alternative methodologies and assess its influence on households’ real access to goods and services in both years. Results suggest that housework reduces economic inequality in both years. But, between 1975–1976 and 2002–2003, overall economic inequality rose largely because of the growing wage inequality and also, in part, because of growth in housework inequality. Socio-demographic change partially inhibited the overall growth in economic inequality.
KeywordsEconomic inequality Housework Time use
JEL ClassificationsD13 D63
We wish to thank Philip N. Cohen for sharing his SAS code used to compute Gini coefficients.
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