Male Wages and Female Welfare: Private Markets, Public Goods, and Intrahousehold Inequality

Posted: 24 Jun 2008

See all articles by Suman Ghosh

Suman Ghosh

Florida Atlantic University - Department of Economics

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

We show how an apparently welfare improving phenomenon like an increase in the wage of the male member of a family can result in a seemingly paradoxical result where the entire family is worse off. There is male and female specialization in activities such that the female member is involved in a community level public good. A rise in the male wage leads to adjustment of household time allocation with the male working more in the market and less on household activities. In turn, the female works more on household activities and less on the community public good, failing to internalize the negative externality imposed on other members of the community. Under quite general conditions the implied negative effect can more than offset the positive effect of the male wage raise, and the entire family is worse off. The theoretical results are consistent with empirical findings in the literature.

Keywords: D63, O12, Q23

Suggested Citation

Ghosh, Suman and Kanbur, Ravi, Male Wages and Female Welfare: Private Markets, Public Goods, and Intrahousehold Inequality (January 2008). Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 60, Issue 1, pp. 42-56, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1150607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oep/gpm039

Suman Ghosh (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University - Department of Economics ( email )

5353 Parkside Dr
Jupiter, FL 33458
United States

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University ( email )

301-J Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-7966 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kanbur.dyson.cornell.edu

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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