Market Income and Household Work: New Tests of Gender Performance Theory

Daniel Schneider, Princeton University

I provide new evidence about whether men and women engage in gender performance through housework. The literature suggests that there may be a curvilinear relationship between income share and housework time that is indicative of efforts by men and women to neutralize gender deviance in earnings. However, the empirical evidence for this inference is scattered and contested. In this paper, I provide new tests of gender performance theory, the first tests to use high quality time diary data for a U.S. sample in the contemporary period. I draw on data on 11,856 married women and 10,756 married men in the American Time Use Survey (2003-2007). I find no evidence that married men “do gender” through housework. However, I find strong evidence of a curvilinear association between income share and women’s housework that accords with the predictions of gender performance theory. Further, these results are quite robust to alternative model specifications.

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Presented in Session 70: Resource Allocation in Families and Households