Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households

43 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2015  

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

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2015

Abstract

We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We show the distribution of the share of income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp drop to the right of 1/2, where the wife's income exceeds the husbands income. We argue that this pattern is best explained by gender identity norms, which induce an aversion to a situation where the wife earns more than her husband. We present evidence that this aversion also 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. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline. In couples where the wife's potential income 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. In couples where the wife earns more than the husband, the wife spends more time on household chores; moreover, those couples are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. Those patterns hold both cross-sectionally and within couple over time.

Keywords: gender gap, gender roles, marriage market

JEL Classification: D10, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Bertrand, Marianne and Kamenica, Emir and Pan, Jessica, Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households (March 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10443. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2572421

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 ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
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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