Bringing home the filet mignon

The grass is always greener

What happens when the wife is earning more than the husband?

Is it really a problem?

Is it a problem for the wife or the husband?

Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica (both University of Chicago) and Jessica Pan (National University of Singapore) present a study looking at the social norm that “a man should earn more that his wife”.

The abstract from the paper Gender identity and relative income within households is shown below:

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,

marriage satisfaction,

likelihood of 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…

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