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Negotiating Domestic Labor: Women's Earnings and Housework Time in Australia


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  • Janeen Baxter
  • Belinda Hewitt
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    Recent research in the United States has found that wives' absolute earnings level is more important than their earnings relative to their spouses in determining time spent on housework. Utilizing data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, this article examines whether women's housework time in Australia is associated with relative or absolute earnings and extends previous work by examining possible mechanisms linking women's earnings with their time on housework, outsourcing through the use of paid domestic help, and unmeasured heterogeneity among women. The research finds that women's housework time is more strongly affected by women's relative earnings than by their absolute earnings, and neither outsourcing nor unobserved heterogeneity can explain the relationship between women's earnings and their housework time in Australia. These results indicate that Australia has a strong male-breadwinner institutional framework that continues to hinder gender equality in paid and unpaid work.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 29-53

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:19:y:2013:i:1:p:29-53

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    Cited by:
    1. Vivien Procher & Nolan Ritter & Colin Vance, 2014. "Making Dough or Baking Dough? Spousal Housework Responsibilities in Germany, 1992-2011," Ruhr Economic Papers 0472, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.


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