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Female Breadwinner Families: Their Existence, Persistence and Sources

Author

Listed:
  • Drago, Robert

    () (Pennsylvania State University)

  • Black, David

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

  • Wooden, Mark

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)

Abstract

We develop a typology for understanding couple households where the female is the major earner – what we term female breadwinner households – and test it using data from the first two waves of the HILDA Survey. We distinguish temporary from persistent female breadwinner households and hypothesise, and confirm, that these two groups diverge on demographic, socio-economic status (SES), labour market and family commitment characteristics. Among the persistent group we further distinguish those couples where the dominance of a female earner is related to economic factors and those where it appears associated with a purposeful gender equity strategy. We again hypothesise and confirm that these household types significantly diverge, finding that men in the economic group exhibit low SES, poor labour market position, and low levels of commitment to family, while both the women and men in the equity type often achieve positive outcomes regarding gender equity and economic and family success.

Suggested Citation

  • Drago, Robert & Black, David & Wooden, Mark, 2004. "Female Breadwinner Families: Their Existence, Persistence and Sources," IZA Discussion Papers 1308, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1308
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
    2. Bruce Headey & Gary Marks & Mark Wooden, 2005. "The Structure and Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(2), pages 159-175, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2007. "Modelling the employment and wage outcomes of spouses: is she outearning him?," Post-Print hal-01053593, HAL.
    2. Alessandro Cigno, 2007. "A Theoretical Analysis of the Effects of Legislation on Marriage, Fertility, Domestic Division of Labour, and the Education of Children," CESifo Working Paper Series 2143, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Alessandro Cigno, 2011. "The Economics of Marriage," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 28-41, May.
    4. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2008. "Modelling employment and wage outcomes of spouses: is she outearning him?," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-01, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    5. Brehmer, Wolfram & Klenner, Christina & Klammer, Ute, 2010. "Wenn Frauen das Geld verdienen - eine empirische Annäherung an das Phänomen der Familienernährerin," WSI Working Papers 170, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    6. Alessandro Cigno, 2012. "Marriage as a commitment device," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 193-213, June.
    7. Elena Stancanelli, 2007. "Marriage and Work: an analysis for French couples in the last decade," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-10, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    8. Seamus McGuinness & John Freebairn, 2007. "Who Are the Low Waged?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2007n08, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    HILDA Survey; gender-role ideology; family structure; female breadwinners; dual-earner couples; longitudinal data;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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