Staff Report 397

Changes in the Distribution of Family Hours Worked Since 1950

Ellen R. McGrattan | Consultant
Richard Rogerson

Revised April 1, 2008

This paper describes trends in average weekly hours of market work per person and per family in the United States between 1950 and 2005. We disaggregate married couple households by skill level to determine if there is a pattern in the hours of work by wives and husbands conditional on either husband’s wages or husband’s educational attainment. The wage measure of skill allows us to compare our findings to those of Juhn and Murphy (1997), who report on trends in family labor using a different data set. The educational measure of skill allows us to construct a longer time series. We find several interesting patterns. The married women with the largest increase in market hours are those with high-skilled husbands. When we compare households with different skill mixes, we also find dramatic differences in the time paths, with higher skill households having the largest increase in average hours over time.

Published In: Frontiers of Family Economics (Vol. 1, 2008)

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