Domestic outsourcing and multitasking: how much do they really contribute?

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

September 15, 2013


The bulk of responsibility for domestic work and childcare in
heterosexual couples falls on women. But the means they find to cope
with this load, and how these means relate to the factors underpinning
the division of labor are not often studied. Two much-cited ways of
reducing overall work time are purchasing domestic assistance
(outsourcing) and the multitasking of domestic/caring tasks. Using UK
2000/2001 time-use data (N = 4196 couples), we find domestic outsourcing
is related to having dependent children and to partners' resources, but
has little impact on the total domestic/caring workload of either
partner. Nor can outsourcing account for the reduction in women's unpaid
labor with increasing economic resources. Wives spend more time
multitasking than husbands, but their proportion of multitasked domestic
time is similar, and is not affected by resources or dependent children.
Domestic multitasking seems to be more related to opportunity (time at
home) than to time pressure. (c) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Published in

Social Science Research

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 42 , p.1 -1









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