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Working Married Women and the Distribution of Income


  • David Betson
  • Jacques van der Gaag


In this paper we analyze the impact of the earnings of working married women on the distribution of total household income. Using the Theil measure of inequality, we first show how this impact can be decomposed into three easily interpretable components, one of which is the labor force participation rate of married women. Then, using data from the Current Population Survey, we present the development of these components for each year during the period 1968-1980. Our main conclusion is that the equalizing impact of wives' earnings on total household income inequality has become increasingly important.

Suggested Citation

  • David Betson & Jacques van der Gaag, 1984. "Working Married Women and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 532-543.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:19:y:1984:i:4:p:532-543

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    Cited by:

    1. Iulie Aslaksen & Tom Wennemo & Rolf Aaberge, 2005. "'Birds of a Feather Flock Together': The Impact of Choice of Spouse on Family Labor Income Inequality," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(3), pages 491-515, September.
    2. M. Dolores Collado & Alfonso Alba Ramírez, 1999. "- Do Wives Earnings Contribute To Reduce Income Inequality?: Evidence From Spain," Working Papers. Serie AD 1999-11, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    3. Nelissen, J.H.M., 1990. "The effect of increased labor force participation of married women on the distribution of family income in the Netherlands," Other publications TiSEM 2d655e83-cbcb-4587-bb0b-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Rense Nieuwenhuis & Henk Van der Kolk & Ariana Need, 2016. "Women’s Earnings and Household Inequality in OECD Countries, 1973–2013," LIS Working papers 598, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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