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New Insights Into Values Placed on Household Services

September 3, 2012, by Admin User

A recent study investigates intra-household allocations of time spent doing laundry, ironing, cleaning, and food shopping by heterosexual couple households.  The analysis considers the impact of each spouse’s earnings on such decisions, as it is hypothesized that wage differences between genders influence differences in time devoted to household responsibilities.  But the study adds an interesting and insightful twist to the analysis by examining each individual’s preferences towards performing such household chores, that is, the degree to which the individual likes to do these tasks.  (Other possible explanatory factors are also evaluated, including, importantly, the cost of maid services.) 

One interesting result reveals that an increase (decrease) in the woman’s wages is associated with a decrease (increase) in her time spent performing household chores and an increase (decrease) in her spouse’s time spent.  However, a similar result cannot be concluded for a change in the man’s wages (that is, it is not statistically significant).

Explaining Changes in Wages and Income Inequality, 1979 to 2009

In the wake of the Great Recession and the Occupy Wall Street protests, and following the recent English-version publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, income inequality has been the subject of much public discussion in the United States. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office produced a report for the Senate Committee on Finance entitled “Changes in the Distribution of Workers’ Hourly Wages Between 1979 and 2009”. In this study, the CBO tracks wage levels and wage distribution, and offers some explanations for changes observed over time.

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