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Wives' Relative Wages, Husbands' Paid Work Hours, and Wives' Labor-Force Exit

Authors

  • Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard University
      Harvard University Center for Population and Development Studies, 9 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, (eshafer@hsph.harvard.edu).
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Harvard University Center for Population and Development Studies, 9 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, (eshafer@hsph.harvard.edu).

Abstract

Economic theories predict that women are more likely to exit the labor force if their partners' earnings are higher and if their own wage rate is lower. In this article, I use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N = 2,254) and discrete-time event-history analysis to show that wives' relative wages are more predictive of their exit than are their own or their husbands' absolute wages. In addition, I show that women married to men who work more than 45 hours per week are more likely to exit the labor force than are wives whose husbands' work approximately 40 hours per week. My findings highlight the need to examine how women's partners affect women's labor-force participation.

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