Stevenson predicts change in household division of labor

January 27, 2022

How do assumed roles in parenting affect the gender pay gap? Betsey Stevenson, professor of public policy and economics, told The Boston Globe that childcare often falls on the mother, impacting wages and compensation.

“Women seem to be a little bit less willing, less able, in a game of chicken, if the guy is driving towards the cliff of not feeding the children, and the woman is driving towards the cliff of not feeding the children, she pulls off first and she feeds the children,” she said. “And the problem is that if he knows that she’s going to pull off first, then he wins the game of chicken.”

The lingering effects of how families coped with the pandemic, Stevenson says, could change that dynamic.

"It’s an enormous burden on women. And parents," she told NPR Here & Now. "And I think it’s really a mistake to forget the fathers here. Because when we look in the data, we see that fathers had a tough time too. So, there has been a big impact on parenting and I think it’s going to shake up parenting and the division of labor in households forever."

Read and hear the news items featuring Stevenson below: