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Gender Role Identity, Breadwinner Status and Psychological Well-being in the Household

Heather Brown () and Jennifer Roberts

No 2014004, Working Papers from The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics

Abstract: It is only recently that the psychological concept of identity has entered economic discourse. This paper is concerned with an important aspect of social identity - gender roles within couples. We explore the extent to which compliance with this identity influences individual utility. We consider gender roles and attitudes in a sample from the British Household Panel Survey, within a framework that controls for individual heterogeneity. Our work offers some support for the identity model. Women in 'traditional' marriages who accept this role have improved well-being. In couples with 'modern' views, women who earn more than their husbands and still have to do most of the domestic work, have lower well-being; this persists if they work part-time and if they report no time pressures. Men who hold traditional views have lower well-being if their wives work; and men who hold modern views on gender roles only have higher well-being if their wives are the higher earner but only work part-time. Our results have implications for the validity of traditional household bargaining models which are largely gender neutral.

Keywords: social identity; gender roles; household; well-being; panel data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 J16 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap and nep-hme
Date: 2014-03
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