Women’s Employment, Unpaid Work and Economic Wellbeing: A Cross-National Analysis

Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts
Janet C. Gornick, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Helen Connolly, Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)
Teresa Munzi, Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)

Most studies of the impact of increases in women’s employment on earnings inequality ignore associated declines in the amount of time women devote to unpaid work. In this paper, we link estimates of time devoted to unpaid work among partnered couples ages 25-59 from the Harmonized European Time Use Survey (HETUS) and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to estimates of household earnings for similar couples for whom we have microdata in the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) database. Our results demonstrate the equalizing impact of unpaid work hours in nine countries, as well as the equalizing impact of the imputed value of unpaid work based on replacement cost estimates using national minimum wages as a lower bound and median wages for men and women as an upper bound.

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Presented in Session 184: Families and Well-Being in Comparative Perspective