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The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States

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Listed:
  • Alexis Yamokoski
  • Lisa Keister

Abstract

In the United States, household wealth is unequally distributed. While facts about the distribution are readily available, less is known about the family dynamics that underlie this important component of inequality. An increasing number of households are headed by single females (both never married and divorced), and the number of single mothers among these households has grown in recent decades. This article explores differences in wealth in the US by marital status, gender, and parenting status. It focuses on young baby boomers, finding a minimal gender gap in the wealth of never-married people. However, when controlling for parenthood, strong evidence was found of a family gap in household wealth accumulation, with single mothers and fathers economically disadvantaged in comparison to adults without children. Yet, it was fiound that single mothers suffer the most severe economic penalties in household wealth accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexis Yamokoski & Lisa Keister, 2006. "The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 167-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:12:y:2006:i:1-2:p:167-194
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700500508478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gronau, Reuben, 1988. "Sex-Related Wage Differentials and Women's Interrupted Labor Careers--The Chicken or the Egg," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 277-301, July.
    2. Laura M. Argys & H. Elizabeth Peters & Donald M. Waldman, 2001. "Can the Family Support Act Put Some Life Back into Deadbeat Dads?: An Analysis of Child-Support Guidelines, Award Rates, and Levels," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 226-252.
    3. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
    4. John Sabelhaus & Joyce Manchester, 1995. "Baby Boomers and Their Parents: How Does Their Economic Well-Being Compare in Middle Age?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 791-806.
    5. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    6. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    7. Easterlin, Richard A., 1987. "Birth and Fortune," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226180328, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; wealth; divorce; marriage; children; parenthood; JEL Codes: D1; D31; G11;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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