What If She Earns More? Gender Pay Gap within Couples

Iga Magda , Warsaw School of Economics
Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska, University of Warsaw

We examine gender pay inequality among couples in which both partners work. Using GGP data PL, CZ, DE and RUS we show that the median share of pay earned by woman amounts to 42.8 % and in around 18% of households women would have to earn at least twice as much as they do in order to equalize their pay with their partners. We also show that if women were paid in the same way as men are, women’s predicted pay would be close to their partners’ pay, and the distribution of the gender gap within couples would be cumulated around zero. This suggests that when choosing a partner men and women are likely to match “alike”, as in the event of equal returns to characteristics they would equally contribute to household income. Within couple pay inequality correlates with the division of housework between partners: women who earn significantly less than their partners are also performing more housework than their partners. Our next step in the analysis is a causal identification of the link between division of household work and men’s and women’s contribution to household income. In particular referring to Bertrand (2015), we aim at investigating whether there is a U-shape relation between female inactivity and household income, and how does it correlate with household-level gender norms and perceptions. Finally, we investigate the role of gender norms at individual and country-level in shaping within household pay inequality.

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 Presented in Session 98. Gender and Family Finance