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Unpacking Within-Household Gender Differences in Partners' Subjective Benefits From Household Income


  • This article was edited by Fran Bennett.

Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom ( and


The authors examine how contributions to household resources, indicated by employment status, influence satisfaction with household income (SWHI) for members of male/female couples. They take changes in SWHI, which may differ within couples, to indicate changes in perceived benefits from their common household income, benefits that can go beyond individual consumption. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey for 2,396 couples from 1996 to 2007, three gender effects are identified. First, men predominate in making the type of contribution that most positively influences SWHI, namely, full-time employment. Second, the effect of contributions depends on the gender of the contributor, with men's employment being more influential than women's. Third, within couples, making the more influential contribution, as men tend to do, leads to relatively greater SWHI. The authors conclude that gender asymmetry in contributions made to household resources is one way in which gender inequalities invade and inhabit households.