Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households: Evidence from Canada

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Accueil » Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households: Evidence from Canada
19 Juin 2019
Types de publication: 
Cahier de recherche
Maéva Doumbia
Marion Goussé
Axe de recherche: 
Enjeux économiques et financiers
Gender Wage Gap
Gender Identity
Intra-Household Allocation
Classification JEL: 

Bertrand, Kamenica, and Pan (2015) show that among married couples in the US, the distribution of the share of the household income earned by the wife exhibits a sharp drop just to the right of 50%. They argue that this drop is consistent with a social norm related to gender identity prescribing that a man should earn more than his wife. We investigate this phenomenon over the years 1996 to 2011 in Canada at the national level but also across provinces where cultural values and gender norms appear to be different. We find a similar discontinuity at the 50% threshold and show that it comes from both matching patterns and time use behavior. We find that couples form less when the probability that a woman earns more than her husband increases. We also find that wives with greater probability of earning more than their husbands are less likely to participate in the labor force and that if they participate, they have a higher probability of earning less than their potential income. Finally, we find that when women exceeded the spouse’s income equality threshold, they also increased their time spent in housework, but this effect has disappeared in recent years. We find a stronger effect of gender roles in Quebec and in the Prairies but a less important effect in British-Columbia and in Ontario.


Maéva Doumbia : Department of Economics, Université Laval.
Marion Goussé : Department of Economics, Université Laval.

Marion Goussé gratefully acknowledges financial support from FRQ-SC. Part of the analysis presented in this paper was conducted at the Quebec Interuniversity Centre for Social Statistics which is part of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). The services and activities provided by the QICSS are made possible by the financial or in-kind support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Statistics Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santée (FRQS) and the Quebec universities. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the CRDCN or its partners.