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The Second Paycheck to Keep Up With the Joneses: Relative Income Concerns and Labor Market Decisions of Married Women

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  • Yongjin Park

    ()
    (Connecticut College)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether one’s effort to keep up with the Joneses has any effect on labor supply behavior. We provide a simple model and empirical evidence that labor supply decisions of married women are influenced by relative as well as absolute income of their husbands. We find, after controlling for husbands’ absolute income and other individual characteristics, that married women are more likely to be in labor force when their husbands’ relative income is low. Results are robust across various settings and measures of relative income and the size of the effect is economically meaningful. We also show that income inequality of reference group of husbands in age-regional cross sections can be a predictor of their wives’ labor supply.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2005-10.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2005-10

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Keywords: Interdependent utility; relative income; social comparisons; inequality; emulation; labor market participation of married women.;

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Cited by:
  1. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2013. "Keeping up with the Joneses: Income Comparisons and Labour Supply," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80033, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Oh, Seung-Yun & Park, Yongjin & Bowles, Samuel, 2012. "Veblen effects, political representation, and the reduction in working time over the 20th century," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 218-242.
  3. Akay, Alpaslan & Andersson, Lisa & Martinsson, Peter & Medhin, Haileselassie, 2014. "Positional Concerns among the Poor: Does Reference Group Matter? Evidence from Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 8215, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Eduardo Pérez-Asenjo, 2011. "If happiness is relative, against whom do we compare ourselves? Implications for labour supply," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1411-1442, October.

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