That’s drastically oversimplifying the results of the study “Gender Identity and Relative Income Within Households,” by Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica, and Jessica Pan, summarized beautifully with graphs in “Say You Don’t Need No Diamond Ring” in Spotted Toad.
In short, marriage rates have declined much more among low earners, and married women on average make much less than their husbands, presumably because of a social taboo on the converse and a tendency (discussed in my post on the wage gap) to see the wife’s role as a compromise between homemaking-childraising and outside earnings which tends to prevent women who accept that compromise from commanding maximum earnings in professions requiring more than full time commitment and continuity.
This is a cultural and biology-based artifact, and can’t be legislated away. Another takeaway: women who do want the high-powered, full-time, maximum-earnings career will almost always find it hard to attract a husband since the pool of men at their earning level or above will be small, and marriages with lower-earning men tend not to endure.
To quote from the study:
We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We show that the distribution of the share of income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp drop to the right of 1, where the wife’s income exceeds the husband’s income. We argue that this pattern is best explained by gender identity norms, which induce an aversion to a situation where the wife earns more than her husband. We present evidence that this aversion also impacts marriage formation, the wife’s labor force participation, the wife’s income conditional on working, marriage satisfaction, likelihood of divorce, and the division of home production. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline. In couples where the wife’s potential income is likely to exceed the husband’s, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than her potential if she does work. In couples where the wife earns more than the husband, the wife spends more time on household chores; moreover, those couples are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. These patterns hold both cross-sectionally and within couples over time.
Among the millennials, average incomes for women have risen to top men’s as women have increasingly dominated higher education, which suggests marriage rates and family stability will continue to decline unless the millennials are much better at overcoming male egos and gender norms than previous generations. It’s not looking good.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.