Dividing It Up

The Mechanisms of Asymmetry


Up to now, considerable time has been spent on the argument that an understanding of the division of household labor turns on at least two critical components: (1) a clear distinction between household productive capacity and its allocation among household members and (2) formal acknowledgement of the reciprocal relation between household and market labor investments. These two dimensions of household production have done the most to inform the organization and analysis of the data. For example, the conceptual distinction between the household “pie” (made up of domestic and market labors) and the efforts of individual members has led to both methodological and substantive departures from earlier efforts. It has also meant some theoretical dependence on the New Home Economics, as well as taking some empirical liberties with it. In particular, households are conceptualized as both productive units and collections of separate individuals. It is in this chapter, where the household-task and market-time contributions of individual members will be examined, that the merits of this conceptualization can be demonstrated.


Household Member Exogenous Variable Marginal Productivity Total Household Household Labor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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