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Gender Identity and Wives’ Labor Market Outcomes in West and East Germany between 1984 and 2016

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  • Maximilian Sprengholz
  • Anna Wieber
  • Elke Holst

Abstract

We exploit the natural experiment of German reunification in 1990 to investigate if the institutional regimes of the formerly socialist (rather gender-equal) East Germany and the capitalist (rather gender-traditional) West Germany shaped different gender identity prescriptions of family breadwinning. We use data for three periods between 1984 and 2016 from the representative German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Density discontinuity tests and fixed-effects regressions suggest that married couples in West (but not East) Germany diminished the wife’s labor market outcomes in order to avoid situations where she would earn more than him. However, the significance of the male breadwinner prescription seems to decline in West Germany since reunification, converging to the more gender-egalitarian East Germany. Our work emphasizes the view that political and institutional frameworks can shape fairly persistent gender identity prescriptions that influence household economic decisions for some time, even when these frameworks change.

Suggested Citation

  • Maximilian Sprengholz & Anna Wieber & Elke Holst, 2019. "Gender Identity and Wives’ Labor Market Outcomes in West and East Germany between 1984 and 2016," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1030, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp1030
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    Cited by:

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    2. Lorenz, Svenja & Zwick, Thomas, 2021. "Money also is sunny in a retiree’s world: financial incentives and work after retirement," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 55, pages 1-21.
    3. Quentin Lippmann & Claudia Senik, 2019. "The Impact of the Socialist Episode on Gender Norms in Germany," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(03), pages 30-35, October.
    4. Han Dongcheng & Kong Fanbo & Wang Zixun, 2021. "Gender identity and relative income within household: Evidence from China," Papers 2110.08723, arXiv.org.
    5. Daniel Kuehnle & Michael Oberfichtner & Kerstin Ostermann, 2021. "Revisiting gender identity and relative income within households: A cautionary tale on the potential pitfalls of density estimators," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(7), pages 1065-1073, November.
    6. Andrea Salazar-Díaz, 2022. "Ingreso relativo, identidad de género y brecha en el trabajo doméstico no remunerado: Evidencia para Colombia," Borradores de Economia 1191, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. André Grow & Jan Van Bavel, 2020. "The Gender Cliff in the Relative Contribution to the Household Income: Insights from Modelling Marriage Markets in 27 European Countries," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 36(4), pages 711-733, September.
    8. Jessen, Jonas, 2022. "Culture, children and couple gender inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    9. Anja Roth & Michaela Slotwinski, 2018. "Gender Norms and Income Misreporting within Households," CESifo Working Paper Series 7298, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender identity; Male breadwinner norm; Institutions; Female labor market outcomes; SOEP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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