The Changing Contributions of Men and Women to the Level and Distribution of Family Income, 1968-1988

Levy Economics Institute Working Paper No. 62

64 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 1999

See all articles by Maria Cancian

Maria Cancian

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

Peter Gottschalk

Boston College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 1991

Abstract

In the past twenty years, the labor force participation and earnings of women, especially married women, have risen dramatically. Over the same period, men's earnings have increased only modestly, and the distribution of family income has grown less equal. In this paper, we analyze the impact of changes in the level and distribution of earnings of men and women in the distribution of family income. We emphasize the contributions due to the increased work effort and real earnings of wives, as they account for a major portion of growth in family income over these two decades. Working wives have taken the place of economic growth as the factor that raises the standard of living of families across the entire income distribution.

We analyze Current Population Survey data for white, black and Hispanic families in 1968, 1978, and 1988. Our results show that the primary factor contributing to rising income inequality was the increased inequality in the distribution of husbands' earnings. Wives' earnings both raised family income and lowered inequality.

JEL Classification: J16, J31

Suggested Citation

Cancian, Maria and Gottschalk, Peter, The Changing Contributions of Men and Women to the Level and Distribution of Family Income, 1968-1988 (July 1991). Levy Economics Institute Working Paper No. 62, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=169410 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.169410

Maria Cancian (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )

1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States

Peter Gottschalk

Boston College ( email )

Chestnut Hill, MA 02167
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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