In a paper called “Gender Segregation by the Clock,” Casey B. Mulligan of the University of Chicago has come out with some interesting new research on gender inequality in the labor market. It is a fascinating study showing that women are more likely to choose a regular 9 to 5 job. Prof. Mulligan says this may contribute to women’s lower earnings.
But did women really choose the work schedule that offers less pay? I am not sure. In our daily routine we have tons of household duties called unpaid work: cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, catching up with children, and perhaps most challenging of all, getting the little ones to bed. Kids often seem to have their strict schedule that parents have to follow (when they have to go, they have to go!). And moms happen to do most of the work at home.
Who pays mom for this work? Nobody. Similarly, who compensates the women who forgo higher earnings from longer hours, irregular hours and overtime? I wonder why one should be punished for investing her time in raising productive workers for all of us.
PS–It would be interesting to compare the earnings of women who chose 9 to 5 jobs with the earnings of men who made the same choice.