When Does Gender Trump Money? Bargaining and Time in Household Work

  • Bittman M
  • England P
  • Sayer L
 et al. 
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Using data from Australia and the United States, the authors explore the effect of spouses’ contribution to family income on how housework is divided. Consistent with exchange‐bargaining theory, women decrease their housework as their earnings increase, up to the point where both spouses contribute equally to income. In other respects, gender trumps money. The base level of housework for women is much higher. Among the small percentage of couples who are in the range where women provide 51%–100% of household income, the change in housework is opposite what exchange theory predicts: couples that deviate from the normative income standard (men make more money than women) seem to compensate with a more traditional division of household work.

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  • Michael Bittman

  • Paula England

  • Liana Sayer

  • Nancy Folbre

  • George Matheson

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