Does women’s employment growth increase wage inequalities between couples? The case of France between 1982 and 2014
It has often been argued that women’s employment growth is a factor that contributes to the increase in inequalities between households due, in particular, to an alleged reinforcement of social homogamy. In contrast to this idea, an accounting approach to inequality decomposition, based on Insee’s Labour Force surveys (enquêtes Emploi) shows that wage inequalities between couples aged 30 to 59 remained stable between 1982 and 2014 in France, whereas they would have increased had women’s employment rate not risen.
This overall stability results from two converse developments, which are themselves linked to the strong growth in women’s employment over this period: a fall in wage inequality between women and an increase in the correlation of partners’ wages within couples. However, the almost uniform increase in women’s employment rate, regardless of their partner’s wage level, has limited the increase in the correlation of partners’ wages and prevented an increase in wage inequalities between couples.
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Bouchet-Valat, M. (2017). Does women’s employment growth increase wage inequalities between couples? The case of France between 1982 and 2014. Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, 493, 67-85. DOI: 10.24187/ecostat.2017.493s.1913