IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Work, Inequality, and the Dual Career Household


  • Dan Wheatley and Zhongmin Wu


Dual career households have the potential to be the most egalitarian of all households. However, while paid work is increasingly distributed evenly between career men and women, household time remains a social constraint for many women. This paper considers the distribution of work among dual career households, using weekly time-use trends, reflecting on the fit of household models and the effectiveness of current work-focused policy. Descriptive analysis, random-effects probit regression, and case households provide an empirical focus on a post-industrial economy - the UK - using the 1993-2009 British Household Panel Survey. Long hours, especially overtime, persist in managerial and professional occupations. Meanwhile, housework burdens women with up to fourteen hours of additional work per week. Preferences for shorter hours remain greater among women, reflecting the impact of household time on paid work. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that the distribution of household labor renders dual career households less than egalitarian.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Wheatley and Zhongmin Wu, 2011. "Work, Inequality, and the Dual Career Household," NBS Discussion Papers in Economics 2011/03, Economics, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbs:wpaper:2011/03

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2011
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossbard, Shoshana, 2010. "Independent Individual Decision-Makers in Household Models and the New Home Economics," IZA Discussion Papers 5138, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Julie A. Nelson, 1995. "Feminism and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 131-148, Spring.
    3. Carmen Sirianni & Cynthia Negrey, 2000. "Working Time as Gendered Time," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 59-76.
    4. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
    5. Inmaculada García-Mainar & José Alberto Molina & Víctor M. Montuenga, 2011. "Gender Differences in Childcare: Time Allocation in Five European Countries," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 119-150, January.
    6. Janet A. Seiz, 1995. "Bargaining Models, Feminism, and Institutionalism," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 609-618, June.
    7. McDowell, Linda & Perrons, Diane & Fagan, Colette & Ray, Kath & Ward, Kevin, 2005. "The contradictions and intersections of class and gender in a global city : placing working women's lives on the research agenda," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 548, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. "Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-564, September.
    9. Irene van Staveren, 2010. "Post-Keynesianism meets feminist economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(6), pages 1123-1144.
    10. Linda McDowell & Diane Perrons & Colette Fagan & Kath Ray & Kevin Ward, 2005. "The contradictions and intersections of class and gender in a global city: placing working women's lives on the research agenda," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(3), pages 441-461, March.
    11. Susan Himmelweit, 1995. "The Discovery of 'Unpaid Work': the social consequences of the expansion of 'work'," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 6, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Dual career households; time-use; equality; work-time; household time;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbs:wpaper:2011/03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (King Lim). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.