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Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households

44 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2013 Last revised: 16 Apr 2013

Marianne Bertrand

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Emir Kamenica

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business - Economics

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2013

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, satisfaction with the marriage, 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, the 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.

Keywords: gender roles, gender gap, marriage market

JEL Classification: D10, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Bertrand, Marianne and Kamenica, Emir and Pan, Jessica, Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households (February 1, 2013). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 13-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2216750 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2216750

Marianne Bertrand (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-5943 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/marianne.bertrand/vita/cv_0604.pdf

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-588-0341 (Phone)
617-876-2742 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Emir Kamenica

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business - Economics ( email )

Graduate School of Business
5807 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Bukit Timah Road 469 G
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

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