The Impact of Domestic Work on Men's and Women's Wages

Article excerpt

Past research has consistently found that the negative relationship between housework and wages is stronger for women than for men. This article tests a potential explanation for this difference by focusing on the fact that men and women typically perform different types of household chores. Traditionally ` feminine" and "masculine" task types are likely to interfere with work differently, because they vary as to when and how often they must be performed. Based on longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households, fixed-effects regression results show that only time spent in female housework chores has a negative effect on wages. Furthermore, gender differences in the effect of housework disappear upon disaggregating housework into task types. This research suggests that a more equitable distribution of not only the amount, but also the type, of housework performed by men and women in the home may lead to a narrowing of the gender gap in wages.

Key Words: fixed-effects models, gender, housework, wage gap, work-family conflict.

NOTE

An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of Amer

ica in New York City, 1999. I thank Pamela Smock, Sanjiv Gupta, Yu Xie, Brent Berry, and Jennifer Barber for their helpful comments. I also thank Michelle Budig and Paula England for their valuable suggestions. This research was supported by an NICHD traineeship (2 T32 HD07339).

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