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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Liana C. Sayer, Ph.D. / Liana Sayer Publications / The Economic Gap Among Women in Time Spent on Housework in Former West Germany and Sweden

Sanjiv Gupta, Marie Evertsson, Daniela Grunow, Magnus Nermo, and Liana S Sayer (2015)

The Economic Gap Among Women in Time Spent on Housework in Former West Germany and Sweden

Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 46(2):181-201.

The quantitative scholarship on domestic labor has documented the existence of a gender gap in its performance in all countries for which data are available. Only recently have researchers begun to analyze economic disparities among women in their time spent doing housework, and their studies have been largely limited to the U.S. We extend this line of inquiry using data from two European countries, the former West Germany and Sweden. We estimate the “economic gap” in women’s housework time, which we define as the difference between the time spent by women at the lowest and highest deciles of their own earnings. We expect this gap to be smaller in Sweden given its celebrated success at reducing both gender and income inequality. Though Swedish women do spend less time on domestic labor, however, and though there is indeed less earnings inequality among them, the economic gap in their housework is only a little smaller than among women in the former West Germany. In both places, a significant negative association between women’s individual earnings and their housework time translates into economic gaps of more than 2.5 hours per week. Moreover, in both countries, women at the highest earnings decile experience a gender gap in housework that is smaller by about 4 hours per week compared to their counterparts at the lowest decile.

Sayer, Labor market, Gender, Family, and Social Change, Social and Economic Inequality, Economics, Gender
Labor Market, Income Inequality, Gender Gap

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