Women’s Contingent Work and the Gender Division of Housework in Korea

Joeun Kim , Pennsylvania State University

Bargaining theory posits that women’s resources are important predictors of the unequal division of housework, yet much of the literature focuses on wage income. This study considers women’s contingent employment—positions with high instability, lower pay, and fewer benefits—and housework allocation in Korea, a highly dualist economy with a sharp divide in the pecuniary and non-pecuniary rewards of regular and contingent employment. We use longitudinal data from a nationally representative study of 5000 Korean women and fixed-effects analysis. Controlling for relative income and relative work hours between spouses, results show that women’s share of housework increases approximately 4.3% when they transfer from regular to contingent work. Interestingly, there is no association between women’s transition between part-time and full-time regular employment. These findings support the view that contingent employment, not part-time work and attendant wages, lowers women’s bargaining power in terms of their domestic labor.

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 Presented in Session 136. Families and Work