Women’s Housework and Quadratic Associations: An End to Gender Deviance Neutralization?

Jennifer L. Hook, University of Southern California

The micro-level mechanisms explaining variation in women's housework time are contested. The heavily-cited finding that women who out earn their partners compensate for gender deviance by over performing housework had been largely discarded, but new findings have revived this perspective. I weigh in on this debate with two innovations (1) by exploiting variation by day of the week I generate new hypotheses to test leading explanations of women's housework time, (2) I use the largest sample to date (American Time Use Survey 2003-2012) with splines to study the contested upper tail of the distribution. There is no evidence of gender deviance neutralization. Women’s absolute income, to a point, reduces women’s housework. Results by day of the week best support a time constraint approach. The real question is not why “gender deviant” women do more housework, but why women’s earnings and employment hours only move the needle on housework so far.

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Presented in Session 30: New Research on Gender and Housework