Wives' work and family income mobility
Over the past 30 years, married women in the United States have significantly increased their labor market activity and become an integral factor in their families’ ongoing economic wellbeing. This change raises questions about the economic impact of two-earner families becoming the norm. Do American families now need both a working husband and a working wife to have any hope of getting ahead or to keep from falling behind? How much does a wife’s labor market activity (participation, hours, and earnings) matter in her family’s ability to make income gains, hold its place relative to other families, or avoid losing ground? ; Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper focuses on married-couple families during three ten-year periods (1969-79; 1979-89; 1988-98) to see whether favorable family income mobility outcomes are associated with greater wives’ labor market activity and finds that they are. Wives in families that moved ahead or maintained their position had high and rising employment rates, work hours, and pay. Moreover, the annual earnings of wives in upwardly mobile families increased relative to those of their husbands. The popular perception that families needed to work more hours just to hold their own relative to other families is confirmed, and almost all of the increase in work hours came from wives.
|Date of creation:||2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02210|
Web page: http://www.bos.frb.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Katharine L. Bradbury & Jane Katz, 2002. "Women's labor market involvement and family income mobility when marriages end," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 4, pages 41-74.
- Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003.
"Why are married women working so much?,"
317, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000.
"Gender Differences in Pay,"
NBER Working Papers
7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Peter Gottschalk & Sheldon Danziger, 1997. "Family Income Mobility -- How Much Is There and Has It Changed?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 398, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Claudia Olivetti, 2006.
"Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience,"
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 557-587, October.
- Claudia Olivetti, 2005. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jun 2006.
- Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2004. "Women as labor force participants: effects of family and organizational structure," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar.
- Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
- Claudia Goldin, 2004. "From the Valley to the Summit: The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Work," NBER Working Papers 10335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:04-3. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.