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Opting Out and Buying Out: Wives' Earnings and Housework Time

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Killewald, Alexandra Achen. 2011. "Opting Out and Buying Out: Wives' Earnings and Housework Time." Journal of Marriage and Family, 73: 459-471.

It has been proposed that the negative association between wives' earnings and their time in housework is due to greater outsourcing of household labor by households with high-earning wives, but this hypothesis has not been tested directly. In a sample of dual-earner married couples in the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey of the Health and Retirement Study (N = 796), use of market substitutes for women's housework was found to be only weakly associated with wives' time cooking and cleaning. Furthermore, expenditures on market substitutes explain less than 15% of the earnings–housework time relationship. This suggests that use of market substitutes plays a smaller role in explaining variation in wives' time in household labor than has previously been hypothesized.

DOI:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00818.x (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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