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Mill versus Jevons on traditional sexual division of labour: Is gender equality efficient?

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The question of the legitimacy of traditional sexual division of labour receives growing attention from contemporary economists. In particular, a debate takes place between the “New Home Economics”, which stresses the efficiency of the traditional arrangement and economists questioning the justice of the relations between sexes. The same kind of opposition appears between two Victorian economists: J.S. Mill and W.S. Jevons. Although both are utilitarian, they adopt contrary views about the relative importance of efficiency and justice in the definition of appropriate gender relations. While Mill aims at conciliating justice and utility, Jevons considers that utility outweighs justice.
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Keywords: John Stuart Mill; William Stanley Jevons; efficiency; justice; traditional sexual division of labour

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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