AUSTIN, Texas—Men and women in rich countries, including the United States, work equal amounts of time unlike those who live in poor countries, according to an international economics study.
"We found citizens in countries with higher incomes experience an even distribution of work across gender," said Daniel Hamermesh, co-author of the study and the Edward Everett Hale Centennial Professor in Economics at The University of Texas at Austin.
Using time-diary data from 25 countries, the researchers found that, while men tend to work more in the marketplace and women more in the home, the total amount of time spent on work is almost equal.
Analysis of the data from the United States and Germany showed larger gaps in total work between people from different regions and education levels than within region or education level. For instance, among American women in the South, total work is nearly six percent below that in the rest of the nation, while among southern men it is three percent below. The contrast between men and women within the South is much smaller.
The study sheds light on the common misconception that men enjoy more leisure time than women. In a poll of economists, sociologists and the public, the researchers found most people believe women work more in total than men.
"There is the stereotypical idea of a man who works nine to five and then leaves the laundry and cooking to his wife," Hamermesh says. "But we’re seeing traditional roles evolve to a point where that is not the norm."
The exceptions to the finding were Italy and other Mediterranean countries where women typically do far more housework than men and thus, work more total hours.