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Does housework lower wages and why? Evidence for Britain

Author

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  • Bryan, Mark L.
  • Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena

Abstract

Women working full-time in the UK earn on average about 18% per hour less than men (EOC, 2005). Traditional labour economics has focussed on gender differences in human capital to explain the gender wage gap. Although differences in male and female human capital are recognized to derive from different household responsibilities over the life cycle, there is also a lesser-studied and more direct effect of household activities on wages. In a broad economic sense, household activities require effort, which decreases labour market productivity and thus wages. This paper first documents the relationship between housework and wages in Britain and applies a variety of econometric techniques to pin down the effect of housework on wages. It further explores what dimensions of housework are at the root of the relationship between housework and wages. After controlling for unobserved heterogeneity, we find a negative effect of housework on wages for married female workers, but not for single workers or married male workers. We argue that the factors behind the relationship between housework and wages are the type and timing of housework activities as much as the actual time devoted to housework.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan, Mark L. & Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena, 2008. "Does housework lower wages and why? Evidence for Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-03, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-03
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    File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2008-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:747-766. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Brune, Lasse F., 2007. "The smoker's wage penalty puzzle: evidence from Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-31, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Dante Contreras & Paulina Sepúlveda, 2017. "Effect of Lengthening the School Day on Mother's Labor Supply," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(3), pages 747-766.
    4. Joni Hersch, 2009. "Home production and wages: evidence from the American Time Use Survey," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 159-178, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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