Female Breadwinner Families: Their Existence, Persistence and Sources

32 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2004

See all articles by Robert W. Drago

Robert W. Drago

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations

David Black

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

We develop a typology for understanding couple households where the female is the major earner - what we term female breadwinner households - and test it using data from the first two waves of the HILDA Survey. We distinguish temporary from persistent female breadwinner households and hypothesise, and confirm, that these two groups diverge on demographic, socio-economic status (SES), labour market and family commitment characteristics. Among the persistent group we further distinguish those couples where the dominance of a female earner is related to economic factors and those where it appears associated with a purposeful gender equity strategy. We again hypothesise and confirm that these household types significantly diverge, finding that men in the economic group exhibit low SES, poor labour market position, and low levels of commitment to family, while both the women and men in the equity type often achieve positive outcomes regarding gender equity and economic and family success.

Keywords: dual-earner couples, female breadwinners, family structure, gender-role ideology, HILDA Survey, longitudinal data

JEL Classification: J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Drago, Robert W. and Black, David and Wooden, Mark, Female Breadwinner Families: Their Existence, Persistence and Sources (September 2004). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1308. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=592323

Robert W. Drago

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States
814-865-0751 (Phone)
814-863-3578 (Fax)

David Black

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Mark Wooden (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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