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Husbands, Wives, and Housework: Graduates of Stanford and Tokyo Universities


  • Myra Strober
  • Agnes Miling Kaneko Chan


Barbara Bergmann argues that economic gender equity requires equity not only in paid employment, but also in household work. We examine the household task arrangements of a sample of married 1981 graduates of Stanford and Tokyo (Todai) Universities, about a decade after their graduation. No less than 43 percent of Stanford graduates shared household tasks about equally with their spouse, a much higher sharing rate than for the whole U.S. population. However, only 12 percent of Todai women and 8 percent of Todai men had egalitarian household task arrangements, a sharing rate about equal to that of the whole Japanese population. Holding other variables constant, Stanford men who did at least half of household tasks paid an earnings penalty of about 10 percent. Women who did more than half of household tasks did not pay an earnings penalty. Our examination of task arrangements among dual-career couples provides support for bargaining power theories of the division of household tasks, but suggests that societal ideology plays a critical role in defining the scope for bargaining.

Suggested Citation

  • Myra Strober & Agnes Miling Kaneko Chan, 1998. "Husbands, Wives, and Housework: Graduates of Stanford and Tokyo Universities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 97-127.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:4:y:1998:i:3:p:97-127
    DOI: 10.1080/135457098338329

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    2. Elizabeth Katz, 1997. "The Intra-Household Economics of Voice and Exit," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 25-46.
    3. Joni Hersch, 1991. "Male-Female Differences in Hourly Wages: The Role of Human Capital, Working Conditions, and Housework," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 746-759, July.
    4. Bina Agarwal, 1997. "''Bargaining'' and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-51.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bowles, Hannah Riley & McGinn, Kathleen, 2008. "Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game," Working Paper Series rwp08-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.


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