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Interactions amongst gender norms: Evidence from US couples

Estefanía Galván () and Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa ()

No 21-15, Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) from Instituto de Economia - IECON

Abstract: Gendered norms have major implications for women’s labor market outcomes. Notably, a recent literature finds that child-rearing norms and the prescription that the husband should be the main breadwinner lead to behavioral changes affecting women's labor supply. Motherhood reduces participation and hours of market work, while women who earn more than their husbands have been shown to react in ways that reverse that gap. In this paper we use panel data for the US to examine to what extent these two different norms interact. We start by asking whether child-rearing norms affect women who are the main breadwinner and those who are not in the same way, and then turn to how mothers and childless women react when breaking the male-as-the-breadwinner norm. Our results show that the breadwinner norm has an effect only on mothers, suggesting that the salience of gender norms may depend on the household's context. Concerning child-rearing, we find that although the labor supply of women who earn more than their husbands initially responds to motherhood less than that of secondary earners, the two groups converge after 10 years. Moreover, women in the former category exhibit a disproportionately large increases in the share of housework they perform after becoming mothers. These results indicate that norms still prevail over considerations of comparative advantage, and that the presence of children pushes women to seek to compensate breaking a norm by adhering to another one.

Keywords: gender identity norms; female labor supply; motherhood; relative income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 J16 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2021-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-isf, nep-lab and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ulr:wpaper:dt-15-21

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