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Male Wages and Female Welfare: Private Markets, Public Goods, and Intrahousehold Inequality


  • Ghosh, Suman
  • Kanbur, Ravi


Can an increase in male wages make the woman in the family, or even the whole family, worse off? On the face of it, this seems paradoxical, since the overall resources of the household are improved by the wage increase. This paper shows that the chain reactions set in motion by such a wage increase in labor markets can end up by making not only the woman but the whole family worse off because of the interactions between intrahousehold public goods, extrahousehold public goods, and the outcomes in conventional labor markets. The key is specialization of males and females in different activities, the public goods characteristics of some of these activities, and the effects of the outside options defined by these activities on intrahousehold bargaining.

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  • Ghosh, Suman & Kanbur, Ravi, 2002. "Male Wages and Female Welfare: Private Markets, Public Goods, and Intrahousehold Inequality," Working Papers 127293, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:127293

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter Kooreman & Arie Kapteyn, 1990. "On the Empirical Implementation of Some Game Theoretic Models of Household Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(4), pages 584-598.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Samantha Watson, 2012. "Formalizing the Informal Economy: Women’s Autonomous Self-Employment in Rural South India," Working Papers id:4784, eSocialSciences.

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    Labor and Human Capital;


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