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Spouses’ time in paid labor is widely assumed to affect housework time, an assumption captured in the time availability hypothesis of housework division. Nonetheless there is no consensus about the extent to which sex differences in paid labor time can explain the gender gap in household labor, and existing estimates are troubled by the endogeneity of time in housework and time in market work. Using the experience of job loss as an exogenous shock to labor market time and panel data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics we find that even the large changes in market work time resulting from job loss have little effect on spouses’ housework time, suggesting that, despite a prominent position in the housework literature, differences in spouses’ time in market work can explain little of the gender gap in household labor time.
Country of focus: United States.