The male marriage wage premium in cross-national perspective

Research English OPEN
de Hoon, Sean ; Keizer, Renske ; Dykstra, Pearl (2015)
  • Publisher: Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Luxembourg
  • Subject:
    • ddc: ddc:330
    mesheuropmc: health care economics and organizations

Using data from 29 countries from the Luxemburg Income Study, we demonstrate that married men earn on average 7% more than unmarried men. Unmarried men would have to work 43 hours per week in order to earn the same as married men working 40 hours. We find substantial cross-national variation: in some countries married men make 25% more than unmarried men, while in others no difference in earnings exists. We extend existing research in several ways: (1) by distinguishing intra-household specialization and married men's sense of responsibility, (2) by including a wide range of countries, and (3) by employing accurate country-level indicators, enabling us to tap more closely into country-level conditions affecting the male marriage wage premium. Following the argument that country variations depend on the pressure for men to be the breadwinner, we identify four country conditions: gender differences in labor market circumstances, gendered cultural norms, marital stability, and social protection provisions. The premium is smaller in countries where both women and men actively participate in economic and political life and in decision making and in countries with a higher divorce rate. Our study reiterates the necessity to employ cross-national comparisons to reveal influential structuring conditions.
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