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"Birds of a Feather Flock Together" The Impact of Choice of Spouse on Family Labor Income Inequality

This paper discusses the effects of the substantial rise in labor force participation of married women on the level, structure and trend in family labor income inequality. An interesting question is to what extent the rise in women's labor force participation has led to a tendency of "flocking together", i.e. whether women with high labor income are married to men with high labor income, or vice versa. Based on the decomposition of the Gini coefficient and a related index for the extent of "flocking together" applied to income data for Norway for the period 1973-1997 we find a tendency of "flocking together" for couples with at least one labor income and couples with two labor incomes. For couples with only one labor income (i.e. couples where only one labor income is above the threshold given by the statistical definition of labor income) the decomposition of the Gini coefficient indicates that there is no tendency of "flocking together". For this group women's labor income gives an equalizing contribution to family labor income inequality. This illustrates the importance of distinguishing between one- and two-income families in analysis of family labor income inequality.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 276.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:276
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  1. William T. Dickens & Shelly J. Lundberg, 1985. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pencavel, John, 1998. "Assortative Mating by Schooling and the Work Behavior of Wives and Husbands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 326-29, May.
  3. Aaberge, Rolf, 1997. "Interpretation of changes in rank-dependent measures of inequality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 215-219, August.
  4. Iulie Aslaksen & Charlotte Koren, 1996. "Unpaid household work and the distribution of extended income: The Norwegian experience," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(3), pages 65-80.
  5. Rolf Aaberge, 2007. "Gini’s nuclear family," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 305-322, December.
  6. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-59, December.
  7. Maria Cancian & Deborah Reed, 1998. "Assessing The Effects Of Wives' Earnings On Family Income Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 73-79, February.
  8. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1988. "Labor Supply of Husbands and Wives: A Simultaneous Equations Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 224-35, May.
  9. Sheldon Danziger, 1980. "Do Working Wives Increase Family Income Inequality?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 444-451.
  10. David Betson & Jacques van der Gaag, 1984. "Working Married Women and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 532-543.
  11. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
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