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Wives’ Work And Income Distribution In European Countries

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  • Silvia Pasqua

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Abstract

Women’s participation in the labour market varies substantially across Europe. In Northern countries female participation is usually higher, while, as we move towards the South of Europe, more traditional household models are still predominant and women are more devoted to domestic than to labour-market activities. At the same time we find that income is distributed more equally in North Europe (except the UK and Ireland) than in Southern Europe. The paper analyses the impact of wives’ work on income distribution in a cross-national perspective using ECHP (European Community Household Panel) data for 1995. The decomposition of inequality by type of household shows that almost everywhere income is distributed more equally among dual-earner than among male-breadwinner households. As the percentage of dual-earner families is higher in Northern Europe countries, this contributes to equality. Sub-group analysis shows also that within-group inequality is the main source of inequality in all countries, while between-groups inequality has a lower impact. Decomposition by sources of income reveals that in European countries women’s earnings explain a lower proportion of total inequality than men’s earnings and the impact of women’s work on income distribution is mainly due to the “employment effect”: where women work less, inequality in women’s earnings distribution is higher because of the presence of many zeros in the distribution. Moreover, the analysis of the inequality among working wives shows that female labour income is distributed more equally where women’s employment rates are higher and vice versa. Finally, using counterfactual distributions, it is possible to show how an increase in women’s participation in the labour market can decrease inequality in household income distribution

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY in its series CHILD Working Papers with number wp01_02.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp01_02

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Keywords: Female; employment; Inequality; decomposition;

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Cited by:
  1. Márton Medgyesi, 2014. "Components of income inequality and its change in EU countries, 2004-2010," ImPRovE Working Papers 14/01, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Seonglim Lee & Jinkook Lee & Yunhee Chang, 2014. "Is Dual Income Costly for Married Couples? An Analysis of Household Expenditures," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 161-177, June.
  3. Raymundo M. Campos Vázquez & Andrés Hincapie & Rubén I. Rojas Valdés, 2011. "Family Income Inequality and the Role of Wives Earnings in Mexico: 1988-2010," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2011-07, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
  4. Raymundo M. Campos Vazquez & Andres Hincapie & Ruben Irvin Rojas-Valdes, 2012. "Family Income Inequality and the Role of Married Females' Earnings in Mexico: 1988-2010," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2012-08, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.

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