GENDER IDENTITY AND RELATIVE INCOME WITHIN HOUSEHOLDS

GENDER IDENTITY AND RELATIVE INCOME WITHIN HOUSEHOLDS

Emir Kamenica, Jessica Pan, Marianne Bertrand
Résumé :

ABSTRACT

We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We establish that gender identity – in particular, an aversion to the wife earning more than the husband - impacts marriage formation, the wife's labor force participation, the wife's income conditional on working, marriage satisfaction, likelihood of divorce, and the division of home production. The distribution of the share of household income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp cliff at 0.5, which suggests that a couple is less willing to match if her income exceeds his. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline. Within couples, if the wife's potential income (based on her demographics) is likely to exceed the husband's, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than her potential if she does work. Couples where the wife earns more than the husband are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce.
Finally, based on time use surveys, the gender gap in non-market work is larger if the wife earns more than the husband.

Marianne Bertrand
Booth School of Business
University of Chicago
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
and NBER
marianne.bertrand@chicagobooth.edu

Jessica Pan
Department of Economics
National University of Singapore
1 Arts Link
Singapore 117570
jesspan@nus.edu.sg

Emir Kamenica
University of Chicago
Booth School of Business
5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
emir.kamenica@chicagobooth.edu

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