Like firms (or companies) households are often considered essential units of the economy: they are the sites or organizational units where labor is homed, fed, cared for, and reproduced. Yet households are also critically important spaces from a sociological perspective given how they are tied to the making of habits, roles, and expectations about the social world.
Households are clearly important for configuring gender roles that have consequences for society at large, but they are also spaces where gendered expectations have a direct impact on the lives and experiences of their inhabitants. One particular family of activities where these gendered expectations play a role is in the division of housework, that is, the unpaid forms of work that are needed to maintain households, from cleaning and cooking to taking physical and emotional care of the household’s dwellers.
Read the paper by Michael Bittman, Paula England, and colleagues (“When does gender trump money?
and answer the following questions. Please answer the questions below each question.
1. What do the authors mean by the exchange-bargaining theory?
2. What does the exchange-bargaining theory imply for the division of domestic work between spouses?
3. Briefly describe the methods used by the authors in order to analyze how spouses allocate their housework and how this relates to differences in income between spouses
4. This graph (figure 1) shows the predicted weekly hours of housework by Australian husbands and wives by husband’s share of couple’s income.
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