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Managing Money in Marriage: Multilevel and Cross-National Effects of the Breadwinner Role


School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia, 2080 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z2 (


We examine whether institutionalized practices and beliefs regarding breadwinning roles are associated with the choice of more or less equal money management strategies in marriage. Using cross-national data from 21 country contexts in the International Social Survey Programme and multilevel modeling, we find that in contexts of shared breadwinning, there is a greater likelihood of shared management of money, controlling for the relative income contribution of each spouse. We also find some evidence that the effect of spouses’ relative income contributions diminishes in contexts of shared breadwinning. Our analysis comparing women’s and men’s money management is consistent with previous research indicating that women’s management may be more work than power.