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Demography. 2005 Aug;42(3):523-35.

Wives who outearn their husbands: a transitory or persistent phenomenon for couples?

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Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121, USA.


In what percentage of married couples do wives outearn their husbands, and, moreover, how persistent are these patterns? This study systematically examined variation in point-in-time estimates across alternative measures of earnings, definitions of types of couples, and data sources and gauged the persistence of these patterns for a period of three calendar years using data from the 2000 Current Population Survey and the 1996-2000 Survey of Income and Program Participation. Among the findings are that in 19% to 30% of all married couples, wives have higher earnings than their husbands. In 60% of such couples, this arrangement persists over the three-year period; for the rest, this arrangement is transitory.

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