Work, inequality, and the dual career household

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Nottingham Trent University Discussion Papers in Economics


Publication date

July 15, 2011


Dual career households have the potential to be the most egalitarian of
all households. However, while paid work is increasingly distributed
evenly between career men and women, household time remains a social
constraint for many women. This paper considers the distribution of work
among dual career households, using weekly time-use trends, reflecting
on the fit of household models and the effectiveness of current
work-focused policy. Descriptive analysis, random-effects probit
regression, and case households provide an empirical focus on a
post-industrial economy - the UK - using the 1993-2009 British Household
Panel Survey. Long hours, especially overtime, persist in managerial
and professional occupations. Meanwhile, housework burdens women with up
to fourteen hours of additional work per week. Preferences for shorter
hours remain greater among women, reflecting the impact of household
time on paid work. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that
the distribution of household labor renders dual career households less
than egalitarian.





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