Gender Identity and Wives' Labor Market Outcomes in West and East Germany between 1984 and 2016

28 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019

See all articles by Maximilian Sprengholz

Maximilian Sprengholz

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Anna Wieber

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Elke Holst

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - German Socio Economic Panel

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2019

Abstract

We exploit the natural experiment of German reunification in 1990 to investigate if the institutional regimes of the formerly socialist (rather gender-equal) East Germany and the capitalist (rather gender-traditional) West Germany shaped different gender identity prescriptions of family breadwinning. We use data for three periods between 1984 and 2016 from the representative German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Density discontinuity tests and fixed-effects regressions suggest that married couples in West (but not East) Germany diminished the wife’s labor market outcomes in order to avoid situations where she would earn more than him. However, the significance of the male breadwinner prescription seems to decline in West Germany since reunification, converging to the more gender-egalitarian East Germany. Our work emphasizes the view that political and institutional frameworks can shape fairly persistent gender identity prescriptions that influence household economic decisions for some time, even when these frameworks change.

Keywords: gender identity, male breadwinner norm, institutions, female labor market outcomes, SOEP

JEL Classification: J16,J12,D10

Suggested Citation

Sprengholz, Maximilian and Wieber, Anna and Holst, Elke, Gender Identity and Wives' Labor Market Outcomes in West and East Germany between 1984 and 2016 (April 2019). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1799, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3379533 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3379533

Maximilian Sprengholz (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Anna Wieber

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Elke Holst

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - German Socio Economic Panel ( email )

DIW Berlin
Berlin, Berlin 14191
Germany

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