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Gender identity and relative income within households: Evidence from Canada

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  • Maéva Doumbia
  • Marion Goussé

Abstract

Bertrand et al. (2015) show that, among married couples in the United States, the distribution of the share of the household income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp drop just to the right of 50%. They argue that this drop is consistent with a gender identity norm prescribing that a husband should earn more than his wife. We investigate this phenomenon in Canada at the national level but also across provinces. First, we document the presence of gender norms in Canada over the 1990–2014 period using three international data sets (the World Value Survey, the European Values Study and the International Social Survey Program). We find that Western Canada is relatively more traditional than Eastern Canada. Then, using the 2006 and 2016 census data, we show that a significant discontinuity at the 50% threshold exists in the distribution of the wife's relative income. This discontinuity is larger in Ontario and Western Canada than in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Bertrand et al. (2015) montrent que parmi les couples mariés aux États‐Unis, la distribution de la part du revenu du ménage gagnée par l'épouse présente une discontinuité, une chute juste à droite de 50 %. Ils affirment que cette baisse est conforme à une norme d'identité de genre prescrivant qu'un mari doit gagner plus que sa femme. Nous étudions ce phénomène au Canada au niveau national, mais aussi dans les différentes provinces. Tout d'abord, nous documentons la présence de normes de genre au Canada sur la période 1990–2014 en utilisant trois enquêtes internationales. Nous constatons que l'Ouest canadien est relativement plus traditionnel que l'Est canadien. Nous montrons ensuite qu'il existe une discontinuité importante au seuil de 50 % dans la répartition du revenu relatif de l'épouse, en utilisant les données des recensements de 2006 et 2016. Cette discontinuité est plus importante en Ontario et dans l'Ouest canadien qu'au Québec et dans les provinces de l'Atlantique.

Suggested Citation

  • Maéva Doumbia & Marion Goussé, 2021. "Gender identity and relative income within households: Evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(4), pages 1667-1683, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:54:y:2021:i:4:p:1667-1683
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12554
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kazuyasu Sakamoto & Yoko Morita, 2024. "Gender identity and market and non-market work of married women: evidence from Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 511-533, June.

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