September 3rd, 2014
by Minneapolis Fed
In the last sixty years, there have been dramatic changes in the United States in the hours allocated to market production as a function of sex and marital status. The most striking change is the almost threefold increase in the hours worked by married women. This has occurred over a period in which married men’s hours have declined slightly and those of single individuals, both women and men, have been virtually unchanged.
Our objective in this paper is to study the validity of three alternative hypotheses for why these changes have occurred: i) that the changes are a result of improvements in the technology for producing home goods, ii) that they follow from overall income growth if home goods are inferior, and iii) that they are a result of a reduction in the gender wage gap.